We cover cross-contamination concerns in the first aid course and always advise wearing gloves to protect yourself when caring for victims. We have also emphasized over the years that these gloves should not be made of latex, such as nitrile or vinyl. Since many people have latex allergies. This incident’s backstory merits discussion.
Use of Latex Gloves In First Aid
First, we must focus on the following three universal types:
These gloves, which come in various colours (most frequently purple or blue), are impervious to bodily fluids and excrement. For contact with injured people, these gloves are the most commonly advised. Chemical spills may be cleaned up using this substance as well. The priciest gloves are those made of nitrile.
often white gloves have been powder-treated to make them simpler to put on and take off. Due to the widespread issue of latex allergy, these medications are not commonly utilized. Yet, latex allergy seldom poses a life-threatening concern.
Some kits have vinyl gloves, which shouldn’t be used while touching bodily fluids or excrement. Due to the high risk of glove breakage, they should primarily be used by sufferers who have no external bodily fluids or waste. Because of the potential for confusion, some organizations advise against including them in the first aid kit.
The proteins included in natural rubber latex (NRL) may contribute to dermatitis and asthma. Anaphylaxis, a more serious allergic response, is also possible.
Allergies are brought on by proteins naturally found in NRL when they touch the skin or when latex glove powder is inhaled.
What arises from latex allergies?
Health care professionals must take measures to guard against the possibility of contracting blood-borne viruses like HIV and hepatitis B with the implementation of universal precautions in the late 1980s. Due to developments, there is now a very high demand for latex gloves. High protein inspection gloves are marketed by some manufacturers). This is thought to be the primary cause of the rise in medical professionals with latex allergies (NRL). In addition, during the past 30 years, the prevalence of known allergens and their sensitivity has considerably grown in the general population.
Who poses the most significant risk?
The danger associated with latex (NRL) is:
- People who commonly utilize disposable gloves in their jobs, such as auto mechanics, caregivers, caterers, hairdressers, and electronics workers
- Patients having repeated surgical operations (according to some research, up to 65% of spina bifida youngsters are susceptible to NRL)
- People who have previously experienced sensitivities to foods including bananas, avocados, kiwis, and chestnuts
- those who are allergic to everything
- It is estimated that 1% to 6% of the general population has a latex sensitivity (NRL), albeit not everyone sensitive will have symptoms.
First aid gloves and barrier equipment
Any first responder’s main priority is to keep themselves safe. Risk reduction is crucial. Body fluids, including blood, vomit, urine, and faeces, all of which represent a danger of cross-contamination, are one of the biggest concerns for first responders. Faeces and bodily fluids can spread illnesses and viruses, including but not limited to HIV and hepatitis.
A set of resistant gloves is an excellent initial defence against this risk. Gloves shield your hands, which are your main contact points with the sufferer, making your work safer. They cover the sufferer from parasites and skin illnesses and protect bodily fluids and wastes.
Natural rubber latex is used to make latex gloves, as the name implies (extracted from rubber trees).
Advantages: The main benefit of latex gloves is the protection they provide. The most efficient barrier against the spread of viruses is latex. Additionally, latex gloves are typically quite tightly fitting, thin, elastic, and flexible. This enables the wearer to keep their hand’s dexterity and sensation to a greater degree.
Cons: Latex allergies are on the rise, and many people are sensitive to the proteins in the latex. Although severe allergic responses to latex protein can be fatal, lesser ones can only cause a skin rash. Additionally, latex has weak resistance to solvents, oils, and chemicals.
What kind of gloves is ideal for first aid applications?
Because they are entirely impervious to biological fluids, nitrile gloves are frequently employed in first aid settings. The most commonly advised glove to use when interacting with victims is nitrile. This material is certified to handle chemical spills and burns caused by chemicals.
Any first responder to a medical emergency should wear first aid or medical gloves.
Body fluids provide one of the most significant risks to a first responder. Disposable gloves prevent the spread of sickness and illness if a person has a blood-transferable condition. After removing the gloves, the responder must still wash their hands to reduce the chance of disease transmission.
In fact, remembering to put on gloves is so crucial in first aid situations that there is an abbreviation that is frequently used to remind rescuers to do so: GO to the victim (Gloves On).
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