If you run a medical clinic, you need gloves to keep yourself, your staff, and your patients safe. However, it's imperative to use the gloves correctly if you want a truly safe environment. Here are some safety tips you should keep in mind.
1. Don't Reuse Gloves
It can be tempting to reuse gloves if you are trying to keep costs low, but that can be extremely dangerous. If you are treating a patient with an infectious disease and you get some bodily fluids on the gloves, you may transmit those fluids to other patients, staff members, or surfaces in your clinic.
It's important to remember that old habits die hard. Even if your staff members don't use the medical gloves for working with a patient, they should still take off the gloves and throw them away after reusing them. If staff members reuse the gloves in some situations, that can potentially build up a habit that may result in them accidentally forgetting to replace the gloves between working with patients.
2. Consider a Special Waste Bin
When you dispose of your gloves, you need to ensure that patients don't mess with them. Ideally, you should have a garbage can with a childproof lid, or you may even want to put the medical gloves in with the rest of your medical consumables waste such as old syringes.
3. Choose Quality
Medical gloves can be the barrier that stands between you and diseases ranging from the flu to HIV. They essentially save your life on a daily basis, and because of that, you need to invest in quality. Ideally, you should only buy gloves from a trusted medical consumables supplier.
You should also select high-quality medical grade gloves that are thick and strong enough to withstand punctures or knicks from needles and surgical instruments. For example, vinyl gloves don't stand up as well to punctures as latex gloves.
4. Be Aware of Latex Allergies
Latex is one of the most common materials for medical gloves, but unfortunately, some people are severely allergic to latex. To be on the safe side, make sure that your medical clinic stocks gloves made of other materials as well. In particular, you may want to consider nitrile, as it closely mimics the properties of latex.
5. Use Colors for Visibility
You can buy clear medical gloves, but for safety, you may want to look into colored gloves in black, red, purple or blue. That allows you to easily see if other staff members are wearing their gloves, and it helps you keep tabs on what's happening in your medical center.
6. Look for Medical-Grade Gloves
Keep in mind that some websites and catalogs sell gloves for all kinds of industries. For example, in some cases, you might see gloves that are popular among mechanics being sold next to gloves that doctors wear. That's okay — in some cases, these professionals actually wear the exact same gloves.
However, as a consumer, you need to be aware that you may occasionally find gloves that are not suitable for medical use on a website or in a store next to medical gloves. To avoid confusion in these cases, make sure the gloves you buy are described as medical grade.
7. Stay Updated on Regulations
You should also keep an eye on legal updates. It's important to remember that the regulations around medical consumables can change. For example, the Food and Drug Administration recently issued a ban on powdered medical gloves. The ban took place in January of 2017, but powdered gloves are still available to buy on the marketplace.
Because of the gap that can occur between what's available and what's legally allowed, you have to stay updated. A quality medical consumables rep can help guide you in the right direction.