From healthcare to childcare, you’re passionate about the work you do. After all, you have the opportunity to serve the individuals in your community and help them to feel their best. The question is, could you actually be harming them more than you’re helping them when it comes to their health?
Research shows that infections associated with health care affect one out of 31 hospitals each day. In addition, there is a higher risk for diarrheal disease and other infections, such as respiratory or ear infections, in preschools and daycares. Unfortunately, COVID-19, which can be transmitted via contaminated surfaces, currently presents a threat in these and other public settings as well.
In light of the above, it is critical for a wide variety of professionals to practice good hand hygiene by regularly wearing gloves to protect themselves and others against infectious diseases. These professionals range from medical workers to caregivers, paint/assembly workers, janitors, tattoo artists, automotive/industrial workers, and biological/ lab work employees.
Here’s a rundown on everything you need to know about the role of gloves in infection control.
The Importance of Wearing Gloves
Disposable gloves offer two-way protection. Of course, they protect workers against materials that are potentially infectious, such as bodily fluids or blood, as well as a variety of harsh chemicals. That’s because nitrile, vinyl, or latex gloves are designed to withstand viral penetration—a capability known as “barrier effectiveness”. These gloves also help prevent cross-contamination when they’re changed frequently. Keeping a box on hand will allow you to avoid transferring harmful bacteria, blood-borne pathogens, and more to those you serve. Once you’ve completed a task, simply dispose of the one-use gloves properly.
Note, though, that the use of gloves doesn’t eliminate the importance of properly washing your hands when you are not wearing gloves. It is still critical to wash your hands regularly to keep infectious organisms from spreading. The reason for this is that new gloves sometimes develop micro-tears, which could allow for exposure to saliva or blood. In light of this, performing appropriate hand hygiene, both before donning gloves and following the removal of gloves, is imperative.
When it comes to personal protective equipment or PPE, there are so many options available. The majority of gloves used for patient care or industrial purposes, for example, are fabricated from synthetic materials, like durable nitrile or tight-fitting latex. Both are great opinions, and they come in powdered or non-powdered varieties. However, those with latex allergies or sensitive skin may want to opt for nitrile gloves.
Either way, the best gloves are designed to offer superior comfort, chemical resistance, and tactile sensitivity. They should also be strong enough to deliver top-level protection during even the busiest of days. Additionally, reputable glove providers offer products that have textured exteriors for enhanced gripping power.
Note that health care providers, industrial businesses, and childcare facilities, among others, should offer various glove sizes to meet the unique needs of their staff. A glove fits well if it is snug, yet comfortable. Too large of a glove will impede task performance and dexterity, whereas a glove that is too small might cause discomfort to the hands and could even tear.
During treatment, you might have to leave your patient to get a device or instrument. If you do not remove your gloves before doing so, cross-contamination may occur if you touch other items or surfaces. You may be tempted to remove a single glove, but doing this may cause pathogens to transfer to a clean item. The best option in this situation is to remove both of your gloves, wash your hands, and retrieve the necessary item.
Also, keep in mind that the integrity of a glove decreases with time. In fact, a glove is more likely to fail after half an hour of being used to three hours of being used. For this reason, it is best to change gloves during a longer procedure to reduce the likelihood of infectious material transmission.
Keep Yourself and Your Facility Safe with Top-Tier Hand Hygiene
Keeping infectious diseases at bay can, unfortunately, be a challenge in busy health care or childcare facility, for example. However, selecting the proper glove to use, and simultaneously complying with hand hygiene requirements, will minimize your chances of being exposed to infectious materials. It will also decrease your likelihood of spreading infection throughout your building.
Follow the above-listed tips to protect your health, as well as that of your colleagues and patients/customers.