When Should Sterile Gloves Be Worn?
Sterile gloves are crucial in maintaining hygiene and preventing contamination in various settings. In the 19th century, in the early history of rubber gloves, surgeons found that wearing gloves protected the surgical staff and their patients from infection.
Sterile gloves are specially treated to be microorganisms-free, ensuring a safe environment for the wearer and those they interact with.
Sterile glove usage in healthcare settings
The World Health Organization recommends that medical professionals wear sterile gloves ONLY for procedures requiring an aseptic technique (e.g., intravascular infusion and devices).1
1. Surgical procedures
Sterile gloves are essential in surgical procedures to prevent contamination and protect patients from infections. Medical gloves create a barrier between the surgeon’s hands and the patient’s body, reducing the risk of transferring microorganisms.
2. Medical examinations and procedures
During invasive procedures such as catheter insertions, healthcare professionals may wear sterile gloves to minimize the risk of infection when the patient has a compromised immune system.
3. Dental procedures
Oral surgery and dental cleanings require dental gloves to prevent the spread of infections and maintain a sterile field during the procedure.
Sterile glove usage in non-healthcare settings
1. Laboratory work
Sterile gloves are used in microbiology and biochemistry labs to protect samples from contamination and prevent the spread of hazardous materials.
2. Pharmaceutical industry
Pharmaceutical manufacturing plants require workers to wear sterile gloves to ensure safety and maintain quality control standards.
3. Cleanrooms and electronics manufacturing
Sterile gloves are necessary for cleanrooms and electronics manufacturing to maintain contamination-free environments. Some gloves may provide additional anti-static properties to protect electrical components from static discharge.
4. Law enforcement and forensics
Crime scene investigators and forensic specialists use sterile gloves to prevent contamination of evidence and maintain the integrity of their findings.
Proper donning and removal of sterile gloves
Hand hygiene before and after glove use
Before putting on sterile gloves, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. After removing gloves, perform hand hygiene again to ensure your hands remain clean.
Technique for donning sterile gloves
- Open the sterile glove packaging without touching the gloves.
- Put on the first glove by gripping the folded cuff with your opposite hand, ensuring you don’t touch the outside of the glove.
- Slide your hand into the glove, adjusting it for a snug fit.
- For the second glove, use your gloved hand to grip the folded cuff and slide it onto your opposite hand.
- Adjust the second glove for a comfortable fit, making sure your hands remain within the sterile field.
Technique for removing sterile gloves
- Pinch the outside of the first glove at the wrist, being careful not to touch your skin.
- Peel the glove away from your hand, turning it inside out as you remove it.
- Hold the removed glove in your other gloved hand.
- Slide an ungloved finger under the wrist of the remaining glove.
- Peel off the glove, turning it inside out and enveloping the first glove.
- Discard the gloves in an appropriate waste container.
In conclusion, sterile gloves play a vital role in maintaining safety and hygiene across various industries and settings. They protect both the wearer and those around them from contamination and infections. It is essential to know when to wear sterile gloves and how to correctly put them on and take them off to ensure their effectiveness. By adhering to proper sterile glove usage and disposal practices, we can contribute to a safer and healthier environment for everyone.