Whenever you visit a doctor’s office or perhaps have been in the hospital, you’ve probably noticed the doctors and nurses who are treating you are almost always wearing gloves. While you may think they are being too cautious by doing so, the fact is wearing gloves serves a number of important functions. As to why doctors and nurses need to wear gloves, here are the most important reasons.

Prevent the Spread of Infection

First and foremost, doctors and nurses wear gloves so that they can help prevent the spread of infection to you and their other patients. In the era of COVID-19 and other highly-infectious diseases, wearing gloves when tending to patients ensures doctors and nurses can limit germs to a specific area since they will always remove their gloves and wash their hands as they move from patient to patient.

Contaminated Items and Hazardous Drugs

In other situations, you will notice doctors and nurses needing to wear gloves because they are handling certain types of contaminated items or hazardous drugs. In all situations, your doctors and nurses will be wearing black nitrile exam gloves, for example, whenever they are required to touch various bodily fluids during an examination, which may include blood, urine, feces, or other bodily fluids.

Handling Sharp Instruments

Though you may assume most gloves doctors and nurses wear are thin enough to tear easily or be cut open with sharp instruments, that is actually not the case. In fact, medical gloves must meet very strict FDA requirements regarding tear resistance, leak resistance, and biocompatibility. Thus, whenever doctors and nurses need to handle needles, scalpels, or other sharp instruments, gloves will always be required.

Maintain a Sterile Environment

Finally, doctors and nurses wear gloves so that they can maintain a sterile environment when working with patients. This is especially critical during surgical procedures since even the slightest infection could wreak havoc on a patient’s health and potential recovery. Once doctors and nurses wash their hands before beginning a surgical or other procedure, putting on gloves immediately will let them keep their hands sterile prior to touching their patients.

Even though you may think it is unnecessary for your doctor or nurse to wear gloves when they are performing very routine procedures on you in an exam room or hospital room, you now realize wearing gloves is important in many ways. In doing so, your doctors and nurses are doing all they can to make sure you stay as healthy and safe as possible.