Just as the name suggests, latex gloves are gloves made from naturally occurring rubber latex and they are used in a variety of fields. These gloves have been used in the medical field for decades, due to the fact that they are sanitary, they are easily disposable, efficient and very affordable – besides, they have a minimal impact on the sense of touch, thus allowing health care professionals to carefully inspect patients for an accurate diagnose. Basically, latex gloves are a great choice in every situation where you want to protect your hands against infections or direct contact with food, chemicals or bodily fluids.
In a nutshell, latex is a milky fluid that contains rubber hydrocarbon along with other substances such as proteins, carbohydrates, water or sugar – when it hardens, it can become extremely stretchable and durable. Latex is used for manufacturing a myriad of products, from gloves and balloons to baby soothers.
Despite the fact that latex gloves are very popular nowadays and they are used in many different fields, many people are allergic to latex – for those who are hypersensitive to rubber, there is always the nitrile alternative which is hypoallergenic. However, it must be mentioned that most nitrile gloves are not as flexible as latex gloves are, and they do not provide the same tactility and stretchability.
Applications For Latex Gloves
Latex gloves are usually unsupported (made exclusively from latex, without any other coatings or insertions) and they have numerous applications: people use them for dishwashing, doctors wear them during surgical operations while forensic experts wear latex gloves at the crime scene to prevent contamination of the evidence, as well as to avoid destroying fingerprints left on glass or other similar non-porous surfaces. Some latex gloves that come with textured fingers and reinforced palms are perfect for mechanical repairs – as a matter of fact, latex gloves are widely used in industrial and automotive repair work
In medicine, health care professionals use latex gloves to prevent the transmission of microbes, chemicals or diseases – medical gloves are always sterile and designed for single-use only. On the other hand, researchers who work with dangerous chemicals also use latex gloves to protect their hands, as rubber latex is very durable and resistant to punctures and cuts.
Most Notable Features of Latex Gloves
The inherent elasticity of latex comes with several important benefits: latex gloves offer increased tactility, they are very comfortable and they have a perfect fir, along with excellent strength – moreover, latex also has very good barrier properties. Most gloves are non-chlorinated, unpowdered and they have reduced proteins for extra control and stretchability, as the chlorination process is known to affect the stretch characteristics of the gloves.
The gloves are available either in powdered or non-powdered form – powdered gloves make it easier to put the gloves on and to take them off, although it may create allergy in some cases. The ultimate purpose of the glove is to provide superior manual dexterity. Powdered gloves are dipped in cornstarch, as it is non-irritant, pure, highly absorbable and it does not affect the glove quality in any way. Nonetheless, powder-free gloves tend to be slightly more expensive as the manufacturing process is more complex if they do not have a cornstarch coating.
Medical latex gloves split into two categories: surgical latex gloves (which are sterile and used in the operating room) and examination gloves (non-surgical gloves used for examining the patient). Regardless of the type of glove or application, latex gloves are known to have the highest protective properties compared to similar gloves – they are stronger, thicker and considerably more elastic than many other options. The beaded cuff, on the other hand, is another handy feature, as it prevents the glove from rolling back during the operation.
Given their stretchability, these gloves are a lot less prone to tearing or puncturing during the operation. In addition to this, they are very resistant to most chemicals (including alkalis and some types of acids), they are resistant to moisture and their leakage rate is very low. Last, but not least, latex gloves are ambidextrous and they come in sizes ranging from small to extra large – the gloves usually come in packs of 100 pieces per box. The gloves are usually white although they are available in other colors as well, including blue and black.