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Article Teaser: We all know what latex gloves are and why they are important, but many people do not realize how long people have been using medical gloves and the changes that they have gone through over the years. Believe it or not, latex gloves have been in use in the medical community since 1889.

Keep reading below...

The History And Evolution Of Medical Grade Latex Gloves

Copyright (c) 2006-2014

We all know what latex gloves are and why they are important, but many people do not realize how long people have been using medical gloves and the changes that they have gone through over the years.


The History and Evolution of Latex Disposable Gloves

The earliest notable use of surgical gloves was in 1889. Various lubricants have been used to help get the gloves on the hand, since surgical gloves were first introduced into the healthcare community. These range from various wetting techniques to the use of dusting powders such as a mixtures of Lycopodium spores and talc, talcum powder alone, calcium carbonate, and different types of starch products.

Lycopodium was the first lubricant used and was used for about forty years until the lubricant was found to be toxic to both patients being treated and the wearer of the glove. After this was ruled out as a lubricating option, makers of medical gloves turned to talcum powder as a non-absorbent lubricant.

In the 1940's talcum powder was also identified as a cause of post-operative complications such as granuloma and adhesion formation. In 1947, a modified cornstarch glove powder was introduced to the medical community as an absorbable and non-irritating powder. By the early 70's, many surgical glove manufacturers replaced talc with the modified cornstarch.

All surgical gloves are actually made from natural or synthetic rubber latex by definition. Although many types of exam gloves are made from rubber latex, exam gloves are not required to be made from latex. Exam gloves can be made from a number of different compounds.


The Advantages of Using Latex Gloves for Exams

Latex disposable gloves have been used for over 100 years as surgical and examination gloves for a number of reasons. Latex exam gloves have been the choice of healthcare workers because of their durability and their flexibility. Latex gloves allow for ease of movement of the hands and allow the wearer to manipulate minute objects easily. Latex examination gloves allow the wearer to feel things easily through them which is critical when examining a patient or performing surgery.


The Nature of Today's Latex Glove Lubricants

The latex disposable gloves that are made today still use cornstarch as a method of lubrication. Some companies refer to the lubricants as a dusting powder, instead of lubricant. The cornstarch that is used today in latex gloves is made of edible modified USP cornstarch. This means that it is pharmaceutical grade and considered absolutely pure. By using this high grade cornstarch there is very little risk, if any, to the patient being operated on or examined.

The cornstarch used in making latex gloves is mixed with a very small amount of magnesium oxide. This is done to prevent the dusting powder from becoming pasty or caking. Regulations today require that there be no talc be present on the latex examination gloves or surgical gloves.


Why Do They Use Dusting Powders On Latex Gloves?

Latex gloves are usually made with a dusting powder included, because the gloves can stick to the mold when they are made. The dusting powders aid in removing the glove from the mold --- helping to prevent any tearing when the latex gloves are removed from the mold.

The dusting powders also help the wearer can get the glove on and off more easily. Trying to slide latex onto your skin without lubrication can be quite a difficult task.

Unfortunately, the dusting powders in association with the natural rubber latex can cause latex allergies for some people. Once you remove the dusting powder from the equation, most latex allergies will disappear. The frequency of rubber latex allergies is the reason that so many companies are now offering dust-free latex gloves and the reason why so many customers are demanding them.


Understanding the Manufacture Process

A chlorination process is used to remove the excess powder and other impurities that attach to the gloves during the manufacturing process. The chlorination process also breaks down the latex protein as well as chemical residue on the latex gloves exterior. Then, through the numerous washing and leaching processes, the disposable latex gloves go through, the proteins and the chemicals are further condensed to fabricate the gloves.

To meet direct health care concerns, water-soluble proteins on medical devices have to be limited by manufacturers, when such proteins can be expected to have an adverse effect on patients and users. The chlorination process helps to accomplish this goal and create safe latex examination gloves that will not harm the patient.


The Role of Latex Gloves In Preventing Disease Transmission

Of course, the use of latex disposable gloves exploded in the early to mid 1980's with the discovery of HIV and AIDS. Latex examination gloves were proven to be one of the best methods of preventing transmission of HIV from infected patients to healthcare workers, or anyone else who came in contact with the body fluids of an HIV infected person.

Since the discovery of HIV many people, not just healthcare workers, have relied on disposable latex examination gloves to protect themselves from HIV and other blood-borne pathogens. Disposable latex gloves are stronger and thicker than most other types of gloves available, and this has led to them being the number one choice among healthcare workers and others.

If any good came out of the discovery of HIV and its path of transmission, it would be that people became aware of how to protect themselves against HIV and many other diseases that can be transmitted via bodily fluids.

The use of latex examination gloves has led to decreased infections of healthcare workers and a decrease in nosocomial infections in hospitals. Latex exam gloves have proven to be very effective and continue to offer the highest level of protection of any gloves on the market today.


About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Davin Abernathy writes about medical equipment and medical management. DonTheGlove.com is the online division of Handgards Inc, a 45 year old company specializing in hand protection products. Davin is a frequent contributor to the website's resource centers. If you thought this article was helpful, you may explore additional articles at: http://www.dontheglove.com/ . For more information about Powdered and Powder-Free Latex Gloves, please visit: http://www.dontheglove.com/latexgloves/

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Internal ID: #3002
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Total Views: 5641

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