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Surgical and exam gloves have undergone several changes over the centuries. In the late 19th century came the first breakthrough. Caroline Hampton, the head nurse for the operating room at Johns Hopkins Hospital decided to find a way to combat her skin reaction to mercuric chloride. By working with the Goodyear Rubber Company in 1889/1990, they arrived at thin, functional rubber gloves. They soon became the norm. However, disposable gloves did not become available until 1964. Since then, changes continue to alter the composition of such surgical equipment.
Traditionally, the material for examination gloves has always been latex. The reasons for this choice are the:
However, increasingly, alternatives are being presented. A major factor behind this move is a negative reaction (an allergy) to latex – of both patients and medical professionals.
Alternative materials for Examination Gloves
Instead of latex, exam gloves can now consist of any of the following materials:
All alternative gloves are non-allergenic and safe for prolonged use.
Requirements for Exam Gloves
When considering what type of examination glove to purchase, it is important to keep in mind the following:
Gloves possessing these characteristics are ideal exam gloves.