Infection control includes all methods to prevent diseases caused by germs. In this section we focus on one of the essential elements in any sanitary environment: the gloves.
Gloves, like surgical clothing or surgical drapes, work as a barrier against germs, in this case insulating the hands of the doctor, helping to reduce the chance of cross infections between patients, as well as making doctors less prone to getting such infections. Also, gloves fulfill other roles like reducing the exposition to chemical agents or the risk of puncturing.
There is a wide variety of gloves, but in medical environments mainly we find two types: surgical gloves that are sterile and examination gloves, usually non-sterile.
Traditionally, medical gloves are made of latex since it grants a great touch sensitivity, comfort and low cost. As a modern alternative, nitrile is used, which is more resistant than latex and grants a similar touch sensitivity, its use became popular due to the large cases of latex allergy.
Also, it is important to note the presence or absence of powder (usually cornstarch), focused on lubricating the gloves and easing their fitting, although that can imply risks because of the leftovers it might leave, in this case, a synthetic coating that works as lubricant is used.
Sterile gloves, either latex or nitrile, are those which are in good conditions to be used on procedures with risk of infection. They come sterilized from factory and are disposable. They are an essential item on infection control.
While sterile gloves are mandatory for invasive procedures, for the rest of procedures it is recommended to use non sterile gloves, also known as examination gloves. They also are an essential item on infection control.