When you visit your doctor, does the doctor wear latex gloves during the examination? If you’re a healthcare worker, do you always wear latex gloves while performing examinations? You probably answered 'yes' to both of those questions. If not, then you’ve probably been exposed to some other type of examination glove. Vinyl, non-latex gloves are becoming more popular. However, latex gloves are still the industry standard when it comes to examination gloves.
Latex gloves are used to prevent the spread of disease and bacteria. If a doctor examined a patient without wearing gloves, they could possibly catch a life threatening illness. During examinations, bodily fluids like blood and spit can come in contact with the doctor’s skin. The only thing protecting that skin from possible infection is the latex glove. Likewise, a doctor could also spread an illness to the patient. If a doctor had a cut or open sore, the patient could become infected.
If you work for a healthcare facility, you should know when to use latex gloves. There are some occasions when latex gloves are optional. For instance, they might not be necessary when a doctor is checking a patient’s heart rate or blood pressure. But for situations involving surgery or any contact with bodily fluids, latex gloves are a necessity.
Latex Gloves and Allergic Reactions
Some people are allergic to latex, and can’t wear or be touched by latex gloves. This is an inconvenient allergy because latex is everywhere. It’s in condoms, shoes, diapers, toys, and numerous other products that are used on a daily basis. Latex gloves used in medical facilities, and the powder inside the gloves, can cause an allergic reaction. If you’re allergic to latex, you must let your doctor know immediately.
The effects of a latex allergy vary in intensity. Some people have a mild reaction to the allergy. They might itch a little or get a rash wherever the latex touched their bodies. More severe cases of latex allergy can result in a serious condition known as anaphylactic shock. This condition causes the face, eyes, throat, and tongue to swell. When this happens, the allergy sufferer has a hard time breathing and seeing. It’s a very serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
Alternatives to Latex Gloves
If you’re a healthcare worker who happens to be allergic to latex, there’s good news. You can use synthetic, non-latex gloves as an alternative. These non-latex gloves offer the same protection and durability as latex gloves.
Synthetic gloves have all the benefits of latex gloves, but without the risk of allergic reaction. The alternatives include vinyl gloves or nitrile gloves which are always latex free. Some benefits of non-latex gloves include:
- No risk of an allergic reaction for people allergic to latex
- Contains no latex
- They are comfortable and flexible
- They contain no powder
- Provide better sensitivity
Vinyl gloves are easily attainable, and should be used by any healthcare worker who can’t wear latex gloves. They should also be used with patients who are allergic to latex.