Medical personnel need to wear gloves when doing medical examinations to protect themselves from potential biochemical risks, contamination dangers, and infectious infections. Because even microscopic wounds and scrapes on the skin may act as a portal for blood-borne disorders to enter the body, the usage of gloves designed specifically for medical purposes is very necessary for the protection of those who work in the medical field. Disposable latex gloves have been an integral part of the fight against the spread of illness in the medical area ever since their initial commercial production by Ansell in 1964. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the company’s introduction of the gloves. For a very considerable amount of time, physicians and other professionals working in the healthcare industry have opted to use latex gloves. They may be worn as comfortably as a second skin, have high touch sensitivity, function well in infectious situations, have a high degree of elasticity, give resistance to chemicals and punctures, and are very cost-effective. Although latex gloves are the first line of protection against several contagious illnesses and biochemical dangers, the extended use of these gloves has been linked, over time, to allergic responses in some of the people who wear them. The fact that latex comes from the sap of the Hevea brasiliensis tree means that it includes naturally occurring proteins, which may cause a variety of allergic responses. Over 250 distinct kinds of proteins are found in latex, and roughly 20% of those proteins are known to cause allergic reactions in certain people. Latex allergies gradually gained recognition in the late 1980s and into the 1990s as a potential risk for those who worked in the healthcare industry. To this day, it is estimated that there are around 13 million individuals throughout the globe who are allergic to latex. There has been a significant increase in the number of persons allergic to latex. It is generally believed that the major explanation for this increase is prolonged contact with latex. Chafing, cracking, burning, and itching of the skin, urticaria, rhinitis, and conjunctivitis are only some of the primary dangers and symptoms connected with using latex gloves. There are several additional hazards and signs as well.
People’s skin will respond differently to latex gloves for various reasons. There are four primary categories of skin responses that might go wrong:
- Latex allergy type 1: This response is brought about as a consequence of the leftover proteins that may be discovered in latex. The skin’s reaction to latex often manifests with a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including itching, burning, swelling, and redness. Other symptoms such as urticaria, conjunctivitis, bronchial obstruction, and rhinitis may also be present in certain cases. After coming in touch with the latex substance, these symptoms may manifest themselves anywhere from minutes to hours later.
- Type IV Response Delayed: A delayed hypersensitivity response occurs due to the gloves’ manufacturing process, which leaves behind residues of chemicals. Erythema, cracking, itching, and dryness are typical signs of this reaction.
- Contact that irritates: The chemicals and accelerators in gloves induce dermatitis, which manifests as dryness, crusty pimples, chafing, scaling, cracking, and redness on the skin exposed to latex for an extended period. Within minutes of touching latex gloves, the symptoms begin to manifest.
- In modern gloves, modified corn starch is used to make them more comfortable to wear and remove. This powder helps keep the glove from sticking to the user’s hand by reducing friction. Previous studies show glove powder might transport latex proteins and chemical reactions. Its entrance may harm several physiological processes in the body, including implant and transplant contamination, reduced eye function, and contamination of pharmaceutical formulations. Granulomas, inflammation, and adhesions have all been linked to this powder in some way or another. Inflammation and illness of the upper respiratory tract may result from inhalation of this powder.
Patients with Spina Bifida, Atopy, many operations, and those sensitive to other chemicals are at an elevated risk of developing latex-related allergies. Latex allergy has no known cure, and the only way to control symptoms is to avoid exposure to latex in the future. Now the issue is, what else can we use in their place? Nitrile Gloves, Neoprene Gloves, and Polymer Gloves are good latex gloves substitutes. Nitrile Gloves are the most common option because of their rubbery texture formed by vulcanization with Sulfur, miming the sensation of latex. Many chemicals may be safely handled using Nitrile gloves that are puncture- and snag-resistant and mold to the wearer’s hand for a more comfortable fit. Additionally, powder-free nitrile gloves are a safer option. Their decreased friction level enables them to be worn for a longer time, making them more comfortable to wear. The dexterity duties are made simpler by using nitrile gloves, which are robust, flexible, and durable. Unlike latex gloves, nitrile gloves are constructed of synthetic rubber, devoid of natural proteins, making them a better alternative for those who are allergic or sensitive to natural rubber products. After switching to 100% latex-free nitrile gloves, several hospitals throughout the globe have observed a significant drop in the frequency of latex-related allergies. Nitrile gloves have brought us closer to the ultimate medical grade glove, but the search will most doubt continue. Nitrile gloves have come a long way in recent years, thanks to improvements in the manufacturing process that have made them practically perfect as medical-grade gloves. An excellent alternative to latex gloves that decreases the hazards of extended latex usage for health care personnel and patients is available.