Anyone running a medical office needs to know which gloves are best for medical use. There are various disposable gloves available for your practice, and choosing the right one for your office is crucial in ensuring your patients’ safety, as well as the safety of your staff.

From the material to powdered and unpowdered options, we’ll cover which gloves are best for places like hospitals, clinics, labs, and physician offices.         

Why Medical Gloves are Important 

Medical gloves are one of the essential components of personal protective equipment. They help prevent the spread of illness and keep the patient safe during operations and checkups. 

Without medical gloves, it would be almost impossible to maintain safe and sanitary standards in a medical office. 

Characteristics of the Different Disposable Gloves 

We can place disposable gloves in two categories: exam and medical. Exam gloves are better used by healthcare workers and caregivers to protect them from contamination while they work with their patients. 

Medical or surgical gloves are used by professionals like surgeons and operating room nurses to allow for more precision, sensitivity, and dexterity. 

The Different Materials Used for Medical Gloves 

Medical gloves can be made from various materials. Exam gloves can be made with latex, vinyl, and nitrile. While latex is highly functional, it can irritate some people, so it is often reserved for more high-risk situations. 

Latex gloves are elastic, biodegradable, strong, and provide exceptional protection against contamination. However, there are patients and medical professionals alike that are allergic to them, making the need for other materials crucial — some latex gloves can contain powder as well, which creates another risk of adverse reaction. 

Chloroprene gloves are an alternative to latex, providing the comfort and fit of a natural latex product with higher puncture resistance. These durable gloves are an excellent option for surgical applications. 

About Latex Allergies 

Latex allergies are prevalent. Even those who may not have an initial allergy to latex can find that, over time, they develop an allergic reaction.

Powdered vs. Unpowdered Gloves 

Powdered gloves became popular in the medical industry because they are easier to take off than unpowdered gloves. Powdered gloves are usually covered with cornstarch, which itself rarely irritates the wearer or the patient in normal circumstances. 

But, sometimes powder can make its way into cuts and open wounds, slowing down the skin tissue’s natural healing. Healthcare workers may choose unpowdered gloves in situations that require the examination of an injury, such as a cut, opting to use gloves with inner coatings instead. 

Though not as durable as latex, vinyl medical gloves are a cheaper option that is soft, comfortable, and latex-free for those who are allergic. These gloves are great for low-risk situations that don’t require you to touch hazardous materials and can also be used for tactile work. 

Another excellent option for general and exam use, nitrile medical gloves are durable and tear-resistant, making them great for procedures involving sharp objects and instruments. Nitrile gloves are non-allergenic, have a long shelf life, and can be worn for long periods. 

Nitrile gloves provide more protection than vinyl gloves and resist chemicals and punctures better. 

Chlorinated Gloves vs. Non-chlorinated Gloves

If you decide to go the unpowdered route, you’ll need to determine whether you want chlorinated or non-chlorinated gloves. 

Chlorinated gloves are easier to put on without the need for powder. They’re also particle free to avoid triggering allergic reactions caused by soluble proteins. It’s worth noting that chlorinated gloves have a shorter shelf life and can become brittle after about a year. 

Non-chlorinated gloves are closer in color to regular exam gloves and don’t contain an odor. But, these gloves are harder to put on and aren’t particle free.

Glove Length 

Another thing to consider is how much of the forearm the glove will cover. Longer gloves are best saved for the operating room, while you can use shorter gloves that terminate at the wrist for general checkups and less severe procedures.

The Best Stack of Characteristics 

Now that you know more about the different types of gloves, here is our expert take on what characteristics to prioritize when purchasing gloves for your practice. 

  • Strength and durability: remember, thicker gloves offer more protection but sacrifice loss of sensitivity and feeling. 
  • Feeling and sensitivity: best for intricate tasks like feeling for a vein.  
  • A snug fit: a proper fitting glove will provide you with the most comfort and dexterity.  
  • Tear resistance: make sure you choose stretchy gloves to ensure they won’t tear. Remember, all gloves are prone to tearing if you have long fingernails or wear jewelry on the job. 
  • Grip: latex gloves are made from naturally adhesive material and will provide the best grip.  
  • Chemical resistance: the need for chemical-resistant gloves in the medical field is rare, but if you do have jobs where your staff may handle harsh chemicals, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Non-allergenic: allergic reactions can range from mild rashes to severe shock. Some latex gloves on the market today have been treated to reduce their allergic effect on people. Check the specs before making any assumptions.
  • Cross-infection protection: gloves with great biological barrier properties are ideal, especially in the medical field.  

Based on these criteria, we can help you determine which gloves are best for medical use. It’s always best to get a professional opinion from manufacturers and distributors to avoid complications during a checkup or surgical procedure.

What You Should Know Before Using Medical Gloves 

To make the best use of your gloves, you should always do the following: 

  • Wash your hands before putting them on.
  • Make sure your gloves fit properly.
  • Always change your gloves if they tear. 
  • Never reuse medical gloves. 
  • Never wash or disinfect medical gloves. 
  • Never share medical gloves. 

Get the Best Gloves for Your Medical Practice at Allied USA 

You should take the time to look into which gloves are best for medical use before placing an order, but once you’ve decided, reach out to us at Allied USA. We provide high-quality equipment for your medical practice, from disposable gloves to clinical laboratory equipment and everything in between.   Don’t let your practice suffer because you lack the right supplies and equipment. Call us at (801) 328-8581 to see how we can buy you out of your current vendor’s contract or request a free quote via our online form today!