In order to promote hand hygiene and help prevent cross-contamination between patients and staff, the CDC recommends glove use for all healthcare workers. It’s important to choose the right exam glove for your practice.
What’s the Right Fit for Your Practice?
When choosing an exam glove, there are many factors to consider, including:
- Your practice type
- The types of procedures performed
- Glove types available and their basic features
The type of glove to be used greatly depends on your practice type and the various procedures performed. Whether you’re performing frequent blood draws, seasonal flu tests, or yearly physical exams, the right glove can help protect patients and staff by reducing the risk of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
Practice Types & Healthcare Settings
The list below represents various healthcare settings that would be likely to utilize exam gloves.
- Physician Office/Specialty Clinic/Community Health Center
- Long Term Care
- Pharmacy/Oncology Clinic
- Home Care
- Urgent Care/Emergency Room
- Environmental Services
When to Use Exam Gloves, and When They’re Not Needed
|Examination Gloves Indicated in
|Direct Patient Exposure||Indirect Patient Exposure|
|Potential for touching blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions and items visibly soiled by body fluids.||
|Gloves Not Indicated (except for CONTACT precautions)||Direct Patient Exposure||Indirect Patient Exposure|
|No potential for exposure to blood or body fluids, or contaminated environment.||
Recommendations for the Right Fit
Now that you’ve considered your practice type and the procedures you perform, additional factors to consider while choosing the right glove include fit and comfort, elasticity and chemical resistance. The chart below offers basic recommendations based on glove type and common areas of concern.
|Strength & Durability||Elasticity||Fit
Chemical Resistance Ratings for Nitrile & Latex Gloves
In some healthcare settings, chemical resistance is one of the more important factors to consider when choosing an exam glove. The below chart offers an overview of chemicals that may be found in healthcare settings, along with their resistance ratings for nitrile and latex gloves.
|Chemical||Nitrile Resistance Rating||Latex Resistance Rating|
|Ammonium Hydroxide||Very Good||Very Good|
|Citric Acid (10%)||Very Good||Very Good|
|Ethyl Alcohol||Very Good||Very Good|
|Formaldehyde||Very Good||Very Good|
|Formic Acid||Very Good||Very Good|
|Hydrogen Peroxide (30%)||Good||Good|
|Lactic Acid (85%)||Very Good||Very Good|
|Oleic Acid||Very Good||Fair|
|Oxalic Acid||Very Good||Very Good|
|Palmitic Acid||Very Good||Very Good|
|Potassium Hydroxide||Very Good||Very Good|
|Propyl Alcohol (Iso)||Very Good||Very Good|
|Sodium Hydroxide||Very Good||Very Good|
|Tannic Acid||Very Good||Very Good|
|Triethanolamine (85%)||Very Good||Very Good|
Chemicals marked with an asterisk (*) are for limited use. This chart and its contents have been adapted from OSHA’s Chemical Resistance Selection Chart for Protective Gloves, and are not meant to be inclusive.Note: When selecting chemical-resistant gloves, be sure to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations, especially if the gloved hand(s) will be immersed in the chemical.