The use of disposable gloves in the medical industry is particularly vital because it protects healthcare professionals as well as patients from the spread of germs, viruses, and other potentially harmful substances. Simply put, they significantly reduce the spread of pathogens, and in turn, disease.
Even the most durable, medical grade, disposable glove is not meant to be worn indefinitely. To maintain protection, it is imperative that you change gloves regularly. Here are a few guidelines to help you know when it is time to change gloves:
- Always, always put on a new pair of gloves if you’re beginning a new task. You should never use the same pair of gloves for different tasks, especially if you’re dealing with patients.
- If your glove gets ripped, torn, or damaged in any way at all, you should change to a new pair of gloves.
- It could be helpful to regularly check your gloves to make sure that there are no punctures.
- Dispose of used gloves in a safe way. If they came into contact with any hazardous material, ensure that no contamination occurs.
- Be sure to wash your hands before and after you use gloves.
When it comes to the food service industry, who also use disposable, single use gloves the guidelines are a little less strict.
Whenever you’re handling food, other than washing fresh produce, food service employees should be wearing a pair of gloves. By using single use gloves, employees ensure that there is no cross contamination between food and that consumers are not at risk for any foodborne illness.
The longer that a pair of gloves are worn, the more their protective barrier will diminish. Of course, any time a glove is ripped, torn, punctured, or becomes soiled, it should be changed. If you’re moving from a task handling uncooked food to prepared food, you should change gloves to prevent cross contamination.
Let’s say you’re working on a singular task and your gloves have not been ripped or punctured. You could keep the same pair of gloves on for up to 2 hours, but that is the maximum amount of time you should ever utilize a single pair of gloves.