Healthcare employees work in a fast-paced environment where even the simplest mistakes can have serious consequences—like accidently using a latex exam glove when the worker or patient has a latex allergy. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), 8 to 12 percent of healthcare workers are latex sensitive with reactions ranging from irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact sensitivity, to immediate, possibly life-threatening, sensitivity. Another three million people in the United States are estimated to have latex allergies, according to the American Latex Allergy Assn.
Contributing to the latex issue is unclear labeling on the packaging whether or not a product contains latex.
Medline Industries Inc., the largest supplier of exam gloves in the United States, is making it hard for healthcare workers to select the wrong item with the introduction of new packaging for its exam gloves. Medline's new packaging now features key information prominently displayed on five sides of the box, including whether the glove is latex, latex-free, nitrile or vinyl, as well as the glove's size and color.
Since the information is printed on five sides of the box, it can be easily seen and will not be obscured by a glove box holder. These features can help ensure the healthcare worker is selecting the right glove.
"The new glove packaging will make it easier for the healthcare worker to quickly see which glove he or she is choosing for which type of clinical or non-clinical situation," says Candace Smith, MPA, RN, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer for Medline. "We are constantly looking for innovative ways to solve key challenges healthcare workers face by creating innovative product and packaging solutions."
The transition to Medline's new packaging began late in 2011 with its Aloetouch line of gloves, which uses a proprietary technology to coat the inside of the gloves with pure freeze-dried organic aloe to help soothe and soften skin that is irritated from frequent hand washing and glove wearing.
The new packaging will be rolled out to Medline's other exam glove lines later this year.