Classification in terms of general function
Healthcare professionals working as caregivers need these gloves. These people need them to protect themselves and others from cross-contamination during and after participating in some medical procedures, such as blood extractions and physical examinations of patients. Healthcare workers use these gloves while working in unsanitary conditions, such as collecting urine and other waste materials of patients. These gloves need to be disposed of every after use to prevent the spread of diseases.
Surgeons and other health professionals exposed to blood, infections, sharp tools and instruments, and other disease-causing objects and substances need these types of gloves. Users and wearers cannot afford to have their gloves punctured or damaged while using them. Hence, these gloves need to be of high quality. Specifically, nitrile, which renders the gloves highly durable and resistant to puncture, must be used.
Classification in terms of composition
Gloves made of latex could be powdered or powder-free. The gloves are flexible and provide good fitting in the wearer’s hands. Since it is not too thick, sensitivity to touch remains intact, and it offers moderate protection to the user. Unfortunately, it can cause allergies and skin irritations.
Gloves made of vinyl proved to be of high quality and yet cost-effective. It provides the users with moderate protection soft and comfortable feeling while using them. It is not so durable, but it is latex-free and sensitive to the touch.
Gloves made of nitrile are both protein-free and latex-free. Hence, they do not inflict latex allergies on prospective users. These gloves are the most durable. They provide a higher level of protection compared to the other gloves because they are chemical and puncture-resistant.
Classification in terms of having powder or not
Latex gloves often have powder placed on their internal surface. The powder aims to make it easier to put on and take off the gloves. However, users found that the powder causes skin irritation after prolonged use at a particular time. In addition, it can cause respiratory allergies. Hence, its use dwindles.
With the advancement in technology, manufacturers found ways of creating gloves that are still easy to put on and take off without resorting to having powder on its internal surface. It is now known as “powder-free” gloves.
Specific uses and limitations
The primary use of latex gloves is to protect the hands against blood-borne and disease-causing microorganisms, biohazards, and chemicals. They are very tactile. Hence, professionals in high-precision careers, such as surgeons, prefer to use these types of gloves. They are both sturdy and comfortable. Therefore, different settings, such as dental, childcare and eldercare, food service, beauty, and even some automotive and manufacturing sites, used them.
Limitations of use
Latex gloves do not offer adequate protection against sharp objects. In other saying, these gloves cannot prevent puncture wounds. Therefore, surgeons handling sharp instruments, like scalpels and scissors, do not use them most of the time. Furthermore, these gloves cannot withstand organic solvents. Hence, users must exercise extra precautions in handling these substances when using latex gloves. Safer still, refrain from using these gloves when handling organic solvents. If you have had previous experiences with latex allergies, refrain from using these gloves.
These gloves are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The addition of a plasticizing agent increases their flexibility. With this plus the low cost, they are the most popular choice in situations where gloves are changed and discarded frequently. They are instrumental in food service, housekeeping, and specific medical procedures. These gloves are the best choices to avoid having contact with allergens. They are light-duty and straightforward.
Limitations of use
Vinyl gloves are less durable than nitrile gloves. However, the vinyl gloves are softer and have a texture preferred by most users. Considered as having softer material, they cannot handle infectious substances. In addition, they do not provide adequate breathability compared to nitrile and latex gloves. As a result, the wearer’s hands perspire after prolonged and extended use.
Nitrile gloves protect users against biohazards, grease, oils, and chemicals. For these reasons, many professionals belonging to the scientific and healthcare sectors prefer to use them. Tattoo artists and auto mechanics use them, too. Generally, these gloves serve as the top choice for personal protective equipment (PPE).
Limitations of use
Some glove users do not like the tactile sensation generated by nitrile gloves. Seemingly, the gloves inhibit their agility and freedom of movement. This limitation becomes very obvious when working with fine instruments or smaller parts.
Difference between medical grade and surgical grade gloves
Medical grade is the same as surgical grade gloves. They are interchangeable and synonymous terms. They both need to pass a series of technical tests before the FDA declares them to have met the safety requirements. They need to hurdle the following evaluations: (1) puncture and abrasion, (2) tension and elongation, and (3) chemical substance resistance. When a glove is “approved” by FDA, it now becomes a medical or surgical-grade glove.
Difference between medical and industrial gloves
Generally, when a glove is not “approved” by the FDA, it does not follow that it is not safe. With the high standard requirements of the FDA for glove manufacturers, a product that is not “approved” could still be considered as “accepted.” These “accepted” products become industrial gloves.