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MUNDELEIN, Ill. - Healthcare workers who have or are at risk of having irritant contact dermatitis show a marked improvement in their skin quality with the use of gloves containing aloe vera gel, according to a just released study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the official journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. Medline's Aloetouch exam gloves were used in the study.
The study was authored by Dennis P. West, PhD, from the Department of Dermatology at Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, and Ya Fen Zhu, MS, Shen Wei Zhangiagan Dayu Rubber Products, Jiangsu Province, China.
"A major benefit reported to us by healthcare workers and their supervisors is that workers, many of whom have dry, chapped hands, are washing their hands and wearing these gloves more often," said Tripp Amdur, president of Medline's glove division. "Despite the new guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on hand hygiene in the healthcare environment, studies show that many healthcare workers are not strictly following the procedures. These gloves, which help soothe and moisturize workers' hands while they wear them, support those important washing and gloving practices."
The CDC estimates that nearly 2 million patients in the United States acquire an infection in hospitals each year, and about 90,000 of these patients die as a result of their infection. Following clean-hand policies alone could prevent the deaths of up to 20,000 patients each year.
"Clean hands are the single most important factor in preventing the spread of dangerous germs and antibiotic resistance in healthcare settings," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the CDC, in a statement.
One of the main reasons healthcare workers are not following the procedures is their skin is dried out, chapped and cracked from frequent hand washings. Called contact dermatitis, this condition affects millions of health care workers around the country. This condition is exacerbated by the cold, dry air of winter.
"If it (the skin) is uncomfortable, you don't want to put gloves on or wash your hands because you know your hands are going to get dry and irritated, but it's part of the job and you have to do it," said Mary Jane McGeoy, RN, director of wound care at Seton Medical Center in San Francisco.
One solution to this potentially painful problem is Aloetouch, an innovative exam glove that is lined on the inside with aloe vera, the same ingredient used in everyday premium skin care products. Literally thousands of nurses throughout the U.S. are now using Aloetouch gloves to help soothe and moisturize their hands, including those at Seton Medical Center in San Francisco.
"In the past, we've used all kinds of gloves, including those with powder, without powder, latex and non-latex, and we still have irritation, dryness and rashes," said McGeoy. "Now, we've noticed with Aloetouch, those problems have disappeared, the gloves are much more comfortable to use and our hands no longer get dried out and cracked."
The clinical study included 30 adult female factory workers who attributed their dry, irritated skin to occupational exposure. The participants wore the Aloetouch glove for 30 days on one hand and nothing on the other hand. This was followed by 30 days of rest, followed by 10 days of repeated use. With a mean time of 3.5 days, the workers showed a "noticeable" improvement for the hand with the Aloetouch glove and a "marked" improvement after 10.4 days for the glove hand. No improvement was detected for the non-gloved hand.
The study concluded: "Dry-coated AV (aloe vera) gloves that provide for gradual delivery of AV gel to skin produced a uniformly positive outcome of improved skin integrity, decreased appearance of fine wrinkling, and decreased erythema in the management of occupational dry skin and irritant contact dermatitis."
Distributed by Medline, the Aloetouch line is the most complete family of aloe vera gloves on the market, including the original powder-free latex exam gloves, the powder-free nitrile exam glove and Aloetouch Ultra powder-free vinyl synthetic (latex-free) glove. Medline's Aloetouch Ultra technology is an advanced formulation vinyl with a superior fit, feel and stretch compared to traditional vinyl. The glove is free of latex proteins for those people who are latex sensitive.
The patented manufacturing process applies a thin layer of aloe vera to the entire interior surface of the gloves, then dries it. When the glove is put on, the aloe is re-hydrated, bathing the hands in a natural moisturizer.
Source: Medline Industries, Inc.