What should I look for to be protected?
You have to check that the gloves are tested against EN455.
The gloves can also be tested as personal protective equipment. Here you will see a CE symbol followed by CAT II or CATIII. There will be an icon called EN374-5 with VIRUS written below. This means that the gloves have been tested and checked by a third party.
Also, keep in mind that examination gloves do not break down viruses and bacteria, they merely act a barrier between your skin and the virus or bacteria. Therefore, be aware that you can move viruses and bacteria with the glove. Change gloves as often as possible in order to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria.
Which gloves protect me from viruses?
The first step is to ensure the dispenser has “medical examination gloves” written on the box.
The second step is to check for the medical glove standard EN 455 on the dispensers. There is no icon for EN 455, therefore you will normally find it written on the box. Gloves tested against medical testing standard EN 455 part 1-4 indicate the gloves are suitable to be used in the medical field.
You can use all medical examination gloves made of nitrile, latex and vinyl. Be aware however, that after prolonged use of vinyl gloves, the material extends and creates pores, giving virus or bacteria the ability to penetrate the glove. Therefore ABENA recommends Nitrile or Latex as the most secure option. ABENA only recommends wearing vinyl for short periods of time.
Can I use latex and nitrile gloves equally?
Yes. Both types of gloves will be tested often against the same virus, under the standard called EN374-5 VIRUS.
It is important to keep an eye on the icon on the back of the box. If the word VIRUS does not appear under the symbol, they have only been tested for bacteria and fungi. All ABENA’s medical nitrile and latex gloves have been tested against viruses under EN374-5.
Should I disinfect the gloves before using them?
No! It is never a good idea to disinfect gloves.
Disinfection will break down the surface of the glove, allowing viruses and bacteria to penetrate the surface.
Also, make sure your hands are completely dry before donning the gloves, especially when you have disinfected your hands before use. The alcohol must be dry before donning the glove. If the hands are very moist with alcohol, you can risk breaking the surface of the glove, making it easy for them to break when donning.
How long is the breakthrough time for the virus on the glove - can a time be stated?
It depends on the context in which the glove is used, which is why it is not possible to specify a permeation time in relation to the use of a glove against virus.
Gloves have not been tested against viruses a specified time. Chemicals such as formaldehyde have been tested and indicated with a breakthrough time, but this is not possible for virus testing.
If chemicals are involved during use, be sure to pay close attention to the breakthrough times available for the different chemicals. You can check the breakthrough times on ABENA’s datasheets.
Therefore, ABENA recommends changing gloves as often as possible and after each task. Do not wear the gloves for several hours.
Can all gloves be used as protection?
Not all gloves offer protection against virus, which is why you should always look for the correct symbols.
For instance, PE (plastic) gloves, which are often seen at a gas station or in grocery stores, only act as a physical barrier, protecting you from getting anything directly on the hands. They do not protect against viruses and bacteria and cannot be compared to a medical glove.
Since there is no testing standard for these PE gloves, there is no guarantee that they live up to the quality required by a medical glove. These gloves might have holes or other lower factors that can allow virus to penetrate the barrier of the glove.
It is therefore particularly important to wash your hands and take extra precautions when using this type of PE or TPE glove.
Is it okay to reuse gloves?
No! A disposable medical glove should never be reused. Always dispose of the gloves after use.
There is no guarantee for the quality of a reused glove. After use of a glove, degradation of the glove may occur, even if this can’t be seen with the naked eye. A used glove has been in contact with various surfaces, and there is no guarantee for how the glove has been stored, all of which can harm you as a user.
In addition, a disposable medical glove should never be washed and dried with the expectation of being reused.
Avoiding spread of infections starts with the proper implementation of care procedures and products you can rely on.
Wear the correct gloves for all care procedures, and change the gloves when they are visibly dirty and whenever leaving the patient or residents room.