Gloves Created to Keep First Responders Safe from Fentanyl
First responders arrive to the scene of an opioid overdose.
The opioid crisis means that EMTs and Paramedics are dealing with hundreds of cases of fentanyl and opioid emergencies every day. The risk to their own health has also increased.
Fentanyl is a very potent synthetic opioid that can kill from even the tiniest dose. The substance can also be absorbed through the skin when EMTs and Paramedics treat overdose patients. Breathing in fentanyl produces the same fatal effects. First responders are at risk of an overdose themselves when they come to the scene.
Keeping First Responders Safe On The Job
Medline Industries developed the first fentanyl-resistant gloves to combat this problem. The gloves are thicker than normal medical gloves but still allow for tactile sensation. Medical responders need to be able to feel for veins and insert IVs, so the gloves cannot be too thick.
The gloves can protect against fentanyl exposure for up to four hours. First responders should dispose of their gloves after working with a fentanyl overdose patient to minimize their risk of absorbing any of the drug into their systems.
First responders put their health on the line in many situations. They do not always know what they will be facing when they arrive on the scene and need to take precautionary measures to ensure that their own health is not jeopardized in the process.
With these fentanyl-resistant gloves, EMTs and Paramedics will be able to help overdose patients while also minimizing their exposure to the drug. Fentanyl exposure leads to symptoms within a few minutes and could turn the first responder into the drug’s next victim.
Minimizing The Risk
Innovations like these help emergency medical teams do their jobs while minimizing their risk. Most medical emergencies include some amount of risk to first responders, whether their exposure to patient blood and body fluids or to substances like fentanyl. Being able to minimize that risk is a great step forward.
For first responders who do not have the fentanyl-resistant gloves, experts recommend that their gloves be removed as soon as they are finished working with the patient. First responders should wear face masks as an additional precaution as fentanyl can also be inhaled with the same fatal results.