There are three different types of medical-use gloves that are used most commonly. They are latex, vinyl and nitrile. Often people are confused about what the difference is. It is important to understand the difference and which type might suit your needs and the needs of your clinic.
Latex is made from a natural rubber material. Latex was the first type of medical-use glove but the more it was used the more cases of allergic reactions were reported. Latex is a common allergy. If you are not allergic to latex, they can be a great option for protection. Latex gloves are usually cost effective, comfortable and are resistant to punctures and chemicals. Latex gloves are known for their durability and adaptability to different shapes and sizes of hands. Although latex gloves have a shorter shelf-life; because they are made of natural materials, they are biodegradable.
Vinyl gloves are a synthetic man-made material. It is made of plastic from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl gloves are often used in food handling. There are many advantages to vinyl gloves including; durability, long shelf-life, easy to get on and off. Vinyl gloves are also a cost-effective option when comparing different types of gloves. Vinyl gloves easily stretch which does not always make them the best protector. For this reason, they are most often used in non-hazardous situations where the risk of infection is extremely low.
Nitrile gloves are newer to the market, they were introduced about 30 years ago as a better alternative for professionals with allergies to latex. Although they are not as flexible as latex gloves, they are more durable and resistant to hazardous materials. Nitrile gloves are ideal for medical environments because they are chemical resistant and have a low allergy rate. Nitrile gloves have a long shelf-life and wear-time.
These three different types of gloves have their advantages and disadvantages. What is most important is to find the type of glove that suits your needs and the needs of your staff best.