Wearing Gloves and Hand Hygiene

Another trivial thing for maintaining Hand Hygiene is the use of gloves. It is a Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) employed in common precautions against the spread of pathogens from healthcare providers' hands to those of their patients as well as from patients' hands to those of their colleagues. Many people are unaware that the gloves' level of protection is insufficient. In one study, it was discovered that when doing basic patient care, workers who did not wear gloves and that had contaminated their hands at a rate of 16 bacterium per minute, compared to 3 bacteria per minute for those using gloves. Therefore, using gloves DOES NOT eliminate the necessity to wash our hands afterwards. Whether wearing gloves make it harder to maintain good hand hygiene has been the subject of various research. The majority of research have been modest and have evaluated the use of gloves and hand cleanliness using non-standardized methods. Since it's quite challenging to remove the gloves without contaminating our hands, doctors must also sanitize their hands after using them. Otherwise, it can cause the transfer of germs from the gloves onto the skin. A recent study has found that skin or garment contamination occurred in 52.9% of glove removals. Every time we touch anything, we should take off our gloves, wash your hands and then put on the fresh ones. If the same gloves are repeatedly used, then there are higher chances of contaminating everything we touch. Thus, it’s very important to put on the fresh gloves at regular intervals and wash our hands properly and sanitize our belongings. Gloves should be used whenever a patient is being cared for when exposure to blood or any other body fluid is possible (including contact with mucous membranes or skin that isn't intact), as well as during contact precautions and outbreak circumstances.

          The recommended guidelines regarding usage of gloves as issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) are listed below -

  1. Health care professionals must be able to distinguish between certain clinical scenarios in which gloves should be used and changed and those in which they are not. Additionally, the health care worker needs to be properly taught about when to put on and take off the gloves.
  2. Following taking off the gloves, there is an immediate need for hand wash.
  3. When a health care provider needs to do hand washing or hand rubbing while wearing gloves due to an indication for hand hygiene, the gloves should be taken off.
  4. The gloves used for routine patient care are not put on in a sterile manner, therefore hands must be disinfected before putting them on.
  5. Gloves do not provide protection for the patient; rather, they are designed to shield the provider from the patient. The best thing we can do to protect both the patient and the physician is to wash our hands before putting on the gloves and after taking them off.

Long-term use of gloves for contact precautions without taking into account the necessity for hand hygiene might lead to the spread of germs.

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