Medical Equipment Blog


Nitrile Exam Gloves Q & A

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why are nitrile gloves becoming increasingly popular over traditional latex gloves for examinations?

As hospitals, doctor's offices, home health care providers and clinics are moving towards working with a greater variety of patient health issues, wearing examination gloves during patient care has become the norm. This includes typical exams as well as emergency treatments, where body fluids are present. In some health facilities, it is a policy and many home health care providers also use this standard of using gloves when working with patients to prevent contamination and spread of contact diseases.

Nitrile exam gloves are becoming more popular for many health care professionals because they don't contain any latex, which is a natural rubber protein. Many people are highly sensitive and allergic to latex, so avoiding products with latex is always recommended when working with patients in any capacity. Nitrile gloves are durable, strong and puncture and tear resistant, superior in some categories to the traditional latex examination glove. 

Are nitrile gloves available with powder and what is the benefit?

As with most types of examination gloves, nitrile exam gloves can be either powdered or powder-free. The powder is a cornstarch that is used to make the gloves easier to put on and take off. Many people prefer the powdered type of nitrile glove since it does make quick work of getting these slightly tighter fitting gloves on and off. Keep in mind that with no latex in the gloves the powder doesn't carry any of the latex to cause respiratory problems and the very serious reactions sometimes seen in individuals with high sensitivity to latex.

What is the correct way to store nitrile gloves?

Nitrile exam gloves do need to be stored correctly in order to the elasticity in the gloves and prevent deterioration of the gloves over time. The recommended storage for nitrile exam gloves is in a cool, dry place away from direct heat sources and moisture. Any exposure to sunlight, heat or a combination of the two will result in a decomposition of the polymer material that makes up the gloves. The result is a glove that will rip and tear with less stress, or a glove that tears when it is put on.
This is an important consideration for home health care providers that may be carrying medical supplies in a vehicle or storing supplies in a car during the summer months. Having the nitrile exam gloves open to direct sunlight and the high temperatures in the vehicle will significantly shorten the life of the gloves, increasing your cost of supplies as they need to be constantly replaced.

Why do nitrile gloves fit so well?

The polymer that makes up nitrile is heat sensitive and contracts upon exposure to a warm object. The contraction isn't huge, but it does provide a snug, comfortable fit to the hand that actually seems to contour the glove. The result is a snugger fit than latex gloves, which may mean that you have to choose one size bigger if you like a slightly more roomy fit.

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