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Eur J Dermatol. 2010 Jul-Aug;20(4):434-42. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2010.1000. Epub 2010 Jun 3.

Update on medical and surgical gloves.

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Pôle Santé Travail, 118 rue Solférino, 59000 Lille, France.


Occupational dermatitis to personal protective equipment (PPE), particularly to gloves, mainly occurs in healthcare workers. They are all irritant and/or allergic contact dermatitis (eczema and contact urticaria). Prolonged glove wearing by healthcare workers favours skin irritation of the hands and wrists. It is very important to consider characteristics and materials of gloves used in the medical field. Rubber additives are the main allergens in gloves. Latex or natural rubber remains by far the most frequent cause for occupational contact urticaria from gloves. The problem of prevention of infections risks in the health environment and the choice of medico-surgical gloves is described. In a surgical environment (in ORS), double gloving is recommended. Today, it appears as the best protection, even if in France it is far from being systematically used. Choosing the appropriate medical or surgical gloves requires having sufficient preliminary information on the assets, drawbacks and use limits of each of them. In cases of known contact allergic dermatitis, advice from dermatologists or allergologists is essential when it comes to suggesting substitution gloves.

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