Strategies for Conserving the Supply of Disposable Medical Gloves
Conventional capacity strategies
Continue providing patient care as in usual infection control practice
Note: Generally, CDC does not routinely recommend double gloving as a part of Standard or Transmission-based Precautions.
- Continue use of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared disposable medical gloves in accordance with standard and transmission-based precautions in healthcare settings and when indicated for other exposures such as handling cleaning chemicals.
- Reinforce indications and recommended practices for non-sterile disposable glove use.
- Prioritize sterile gloves for surgical and other sterile procedures.
- Medical gloves for handling chemotherapy agents (chemotherapy gloves) should be prioritized for healthcare personnel (HCP) handling chemotherapy and other hazardous drugs.
- Remind HCP about indications for when gloves are needed, as well as common care situations when gloves may not be needed.
Contingency capacity strategies
Use gloves past their designated shelf life for training activities
Non-sterile disposable gloves cleared by FDA are not required to have expiration date labeling; however, some manufacturers choose to designate a shelf life. Facilities may consider using gloves past their designated shelf life (if a shelf life is designated) for situations where HCP are not exposed to pathogens, such as during training activities.
Use gloves conforming to other U.S. and international standards
Healthcare facilities may consider using disposable medical gloves that are similar to FDA-cleared surgical and examination gloves but are approved under other U.S. or international standards. Check with the vendor to determine product conformity with any applicable recommended standards. Decisions to implement this strategy would require authorization by FDA or enforcement discretion by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Crisis Capacity Strategies
Use gloves past their designated shelf life for healthcare delivery
Non-sterile disposable gloves cleared by the FDA are not required to have expiration date labeling; however, some manufacturers choose to designate a shelf life. Facilities may consider using gloves past their designated shelf life for healthcare delivery. Sterile gloves past their designated shelf life should not be used for surgical or other sterile procedures.
Prioritize the use of non-sterile disposable gloves
Non-sterile disposable gloves should be prioritized for use during activities when gloves are recommended to protect the hands from contact with potentially hazardous substances, including blood and body fluids (e.g., wound care). If gloves are not worn, hand hygiene protocols must be followed.
Facilities may consider suspending use of gloves when entering the room of patients with endemic multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) (e.g., MRSA, VRE, ESBL-producing organisms). Note: the organisms that are considered endemic can vary in different regions. However, HCP should wear gloves when it can be reasonably anticipated that contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials, mucous membranes, nonintact skin, or potentially contaminated intact skin could occur. When HCP are exposed to such MDROs, employers must ensure that hand hygiene protocols are stringently followed. These organisms can be carried on the skin and under the fingernails, leading to transmission to other patients or colonization of HCP. In general, gloves, as part of Contact Precautions, should continue to be used for patients colonized or infected with emerging highly-resistant organisms including Candida auris, carbapenemase-producing carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales, Carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas and Acinetobacter, and pan-resistant organisms.