This article will present a review of the problem of chemical allergies associated with glove use and key considerations in the selection and use of alternative medical glove products to minimise and / or prevent chemical allergies.
Next to healthy intact skin, medical gloves are the first line of defence against infectious pathogens, providing a protective barrier for both the healthcare provider and the patient. The World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) Blood-borne Pathogen Standard, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), the National Institute for Healthcare and Care Excellence (NICE - UK) and the Australian National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) all define PPE as the specialised clothing or other equipment worn by employees to protect themselves against a hazard; the use of PPE such as medical gloves is required whenever there is a risk of occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious material. However, in some users, medical gloves have been associated with skin irritation. Adverse skin reactions to medical gloves include latex protein allergy (Type I, immediate hypersensitivity to natural rubber latex proteins), chemical allergy (Type IV, allergic contact dermatitis (ACD)), and general skin irritations.