How Long Can You Safely Wear Latex Gloves While Working?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, gloves became a regular part of employee Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in many industries. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been recommending gloves and provides information on their proper use.

Disposable gloves protect against different contaminants such as viruses, bacteria, or potent chemicals. Latex gloves are relatively inexpensive and are used by workers in a wide range of industries. While most people are familiar with latex gloves, you may not realize that latex is not the only glove option on the market, but it is one of the most durable.

Latex gloves are disposable, meaning you should never reuse them to avoid spreading contaminants. In general, after working for a few hours with a pair of latex gloves, you should switch to a new pair.

What are Latex Gloves?

Latex gloves are made from natural rubber and are relatively inexpensive. They help protect against pathogens, and they are often used in food handling and medical situations. Investing in latex gloves is necessary for workplaces where you may come into contact with a contaminated surface for bodily fluids.

Latex offers great dexterity, making these gloves suitable for employees performing intricate tasks, like surgical procedures. They are also an essential tool for disease control and prevention. Foodservice or grocery store workers with gloved hands can prevent spreading fomites to customers, while a medical worker can stay protected from an infected person by handling them with medical-grade latex gloves rather than bare hands.

One common problem with latex gloves is allergic reactions in many people. In that case, nitrile gloves are a convenient alternative offering similar qualities. Workers who prepare food or directly handle patients may prefer nitrile gloves to avoid the risk of allergic reactions in themselves or others.

How Long Should You Wear Gloves?

Latex gloves can be used safely for an extended time. A study from Glasgow Dental School showed that latex gloves could be used for up to three months without ill effects on the skin. The people participating in the study used gloves at least four days a week for eight hours each day. This demonstrates you can use latex gloves for many days without compromising the health of your skin.

However, latex gloves are thin and are meant to be disposable, which is why you purchase them in large quantities. Despite the length of time you can wear a pair of gloves without skin irritation from latex, you should still be changing to fresh gloves regularly throughout the workday.

A good rule is to change to a new pair of gloves every time you begin a new task to avoid cross-contamination. You should also change them immediately if they become ripped, soiled, come into contact with raw meat, and you intend to handle other foods and after roughly four hours of continuous use at a single task.

Latex gloves

Proper Latex Glove Use

Latex Gloves protect your skin from harmful substances, including potent chemicals, viruses, and bacteria, by providing an impenetrable barrier.

However, latex gloves won’t prevent you from spreading contaminants onto other surfaces once they’re on your gloves. If you are using gloves to protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure or other harmful pathogens, do not touch your face and wash your hands with soap and water after correctly removing the used gloves.

Contact ICU Productions for Reliable PPE

ICU Production Inc. has over ten years of experience providing health professionals and other workers with high-quality PPE compliant with national standards and certified by the CDC and FDA. We offer gloves, masks, gowns, hand sanitizer, and face shields, among other protective products. Contact us today to find out more about protecting your employees on the job.