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When it comes to Medical Gloves, One Size Doesn’t Comfortably Fit All
    
According to the FDA, gloves act as a “broad barrier protection.” As we mentioned in a previous post, gloves have been on the FDA’s PPE shortage list for months. So if you are having a hard time accessing gloves, you’re not alone!  On top of that, gloves come in different sizes and different types. So you’ll have to figure out the size that fits you and the kind that’s best for your specific environment. 
   
The FDA regulation on gloves 
When it comes to PPE gloves used for medical purposes, they have to abide by FDA regulations. The consensus standards and FDA requirements are different, depending on the PPE. Manufacturers have to provide tests showing their specific gloves meet the criteria for appropriate tear resistance levels, leak resistance, and biocompatibility.
 
 
 
 
What are medical gloves?
Medical gloves are part of personal protective equipment. They are disposable and come in a few different types - surgical gloves, medical gloves, and examination gloves. They are labeled as PPE because medical gloves can help protect the patient or health care worker from spreading Covid-19. The FDA specifies that medical gloves should have consistent sizing, and they should also be watertight.  Medical gloves have to meet Acceptable Quality Level standards (also referred to as AQL). The testing for medical gloves includes multiple tests for tensile strength, elasticity, and puncture resistance. 
 
Gloves on the FDA ban list
When you’re looking through glove options for PPE, there is one glove option that you won’t be able to entertain since the FDA banned it back in 2016. In December of 2016, the FDA officially banned powdered gloves because they posed too much threat to contributing to injury and illness. In the past, when powder particles found their way into any internal body tissue during surgery, they would pose serious complications. Sometimes they would create hypersensitivity and airway inflammation reactions. The list of potential risks extends far beyond just those complications. So there is a good reason why the FDA added powdered gloves to their banned list.
     
Before we review the considerations for choosing the right gloves, we have to make a disclaimer. No glove material will perfectly protect you from every single substance. If someone tries to tell you otherwise, then they aren’t fully educated on the matter of gloves, OR they’re trying to scam you (check out our previous post on how to avoid PPE scams). Gloves will vary in material, thickness, and purpose, which we will review below!
    
      
Considerations when choosing the right medical gloves
  • Consider the length of time you’ll be wearing gloves - If you or your employees will be wearing gloves for an extended period, then comfort is undoubtedly an important factor! Thicker gloves will offer you more protection, but they won’t offer as much comfort over a long period. Thick gloves won’t be of much use if they cause your hands to quickly fatigue during a long work shift! (Vinyl gloves are a good option if you need a soft and comfortable fit to get you through a long work shift).

 

  • Gloves need to fit the individual wearing them’ size hands - Medical glove sizes range from extra small to extra large. Measure your hand size to make sure you choose the proper fit! If you end up with too large gloves,  they will often get folds in them, causing an interruption in your work. On the other hand, if you end up getting too small gloves, they can quickly fatigue your hands and cause gripping challenges.

 

  • Choose the best material - Nitrile, vinyl, and natural rubber latex are the most common glove materials. Nitrile gloves provide flexibility, strength, and durability. Genuine rubber latex gloves are durable and provide a sound barrier of protection but can cause allergic reactions, including a severe one - anaphylaxis. Vinyl gloves are a great multi-purpose option for general use, and they’re also ideal for shift workers who need to change out their gloves often. 
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  • Consider the thickness - Disposable gloves are typically anywhere from 4-8 mils thick. To translate that - 1 mil is equivalent to .001” gauge. Low gauge gloves provide flexibility and a heightened sense of touch. The higher the gauge of thickness, the less flexibility the glove has - but on the flip side, they will have more durability. 
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    Gloves that offer the highest level of protection from Covid-19 and other viruses won’t be handy if the gloves don’t fit correctly or if you continually have to remove them due to fatigue. So make sure you factor in all the considerations when choosing the best pair of medical gloves. If you’re looking for gloves - whether it’s for personal use or your company, we provide different options to meet your needs! 
         
    Our Nitrile Exam gloves are long-lasting and provide excellent durability. We understand that sometimes even the typical size range of gloves (S-XL) doesn’t always fit all! 
         
    That’s why we provide our Nitrile Exam gloves through size XXL. :) If you’re looking for gloves that need to be frequently replaced, our vinyl gloves are a great option! Our vinyl gloves are multi-purpose and help keep your hands protected from viruses, germs, and diseases! 

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