Don’t replace hand hygiene with the use of non-sterile disposable gloves. Use alcohol-based product as a first choice for hand hygiene routine.
Proper hand hygiene reduces the skin microbial population, representing the basic measure to ensure hand decontamination. In healthcare settings, non-sterile disposable gloves – or “gloves” – do not replace hand hygiene, as they have different functions. In fact, gloves reduce the probability of microorganism transmission from healthcare workers to patients (“patient protection”); constitute a barrier to prevent hands contamination of healthcare workers in case of contact with blood, biological materials, and devices or contaminated surfaces (“healthcare workers protection”).
However, gloves do not provide complete protection against hand contamination. Indeed, microorganisms can reach the hands of healthcare workers through small defects in the gloves or hands contamination during their removal.
The use of gloves can lead to a failure of hand hygiene practices. In the latter case, several studies report a significant reduction of proper hand hygiene, especially if the use of gloves is incorrect, suggesting that their inappropriate use can be a component of poor hand hygiene compliance.
Once removed, gloves must not be reused even after decontamination. Compared to social and antiseptic handwashing, alcohol-based hand rubs increase healthcare workers adherence to routinely hand hygiene.
1. Siegel JD, Rhinehart E, Jackson M, Chiarello L, and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee, 2007 Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings (last update: July 2019).
2. World Health Organization. WHO guidelines on hand hygiene in health care: first global patient safety challenge: clean care is safer care. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, Patient Safety; 2009.
3. Agenzia Sanitaria e Sociale Regionale, Emilia-Romagna. “Cure pulite sono cure più sicure”. Rapporto finale della campagna nazionale OMS. Dossier 189-2010.
4. Regione Emilia-Romagna. Servizio Assistenza Territoriale - Direzione Generale Cura della Persona, Salute e Welfare – Area Farmaco e Dispositivi Medici. Linee di indirizzo sull’utilizzo appropriato dei guanti monouso non sterili. Luglio 2020.
5. CDC. Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Disposable Medical Gloves. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/gloves.html
Attention. Please note that these items are provided only for information and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a clinician. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their clinician.