In the late 19th century, a brilliant surgical innovator named Dr. William Halstead came up with the idea of sterilized gloves that would pave the way for more hygienic surgical practices. Today, Hallmark Surgical reports that gloving trends and materials have improved considerably to maximize safety for health professionals and patients.
Best Practice Trend #1: Wearing Synthetic Gloves
Before the introduction of synthetic gloves, health professional used latex gloves. This attracted attention during the 1980s as allergic reaction to latex caused rashes (similar to poison ivy), sneezing, itchy skin and runny nose. Health care professionals were particularly vulnerable to this allergy as sensitivity to the material increased with repeated use. The suggested solution was to wear synthetic surgical gloves that mimicked the comfort, fit and feel of latex.
Best Practice Trend #2: Powder-Free Gloves
The Medical Glove Powder Report released by the Food and Drug Administration in 1997 illustrated how glove powder resulted in adverse health effects such as delayed wound healing, Irritant Contact Dermatitis (ICD) and post-operative complications. To avoid this, professional health associations advocated the use of powder-free gloves.
Best Practice Trend #3: Double-Gloving
Research has shown that surgical personnel recognize small punctures only after surgery and not during the actual incident. Experts are now advocating the practice of double-gloving because in case the exterior glove is punctured, the interior glove can shield against blood-borne pathogens. Double-gloving sharply decreases the risk of contracting an infection due to contact of infected blood by up to 87 percent. To make double-gloving more effective, experts recommend differently-colored undergloves. Colored undergloves worn under white gloves improve puncture awareness to 56 percent.
Best Practice Trend #4: Allergy Awareness
Despite shifting from latex to synthetic gloves, healthcare workers still experience allergic reactions on their wrists and hands. They incorrectly assume that the synthetic gloves trigger the skin irritation instead of considering other factors. It is more important to concentrate on typical non-immunologic reactions first, such as allergy to surgical scrub brushes and harsh anti-microbial soaps. If the glove wearer suspects Allergic Contact Dermatitis, he or she should undergo a patch test to determine why the immune system is responding that way.
These four practice trends made the use of surgical gloving a lot safer. Healthcare workers should follow these trends to avoid any unwanted health effects when using surgical gloves.