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The letters by Mr. Ferri and Mr. Baller reinforce my belief that many nurses are misinformed about standard precautions, specifically when it comes to when to wear gloves. I know that nurses wear gloves for injections. However, like many other things nurses do, it's not an evidence-based practice. In addition, a nurse who wears one pair of gloves when injecting large groups (as in immunization clinics) poses a risk to other patients; when she touches their skin with those contaminated gloves, she could spread infectious microorganisms. 1


The CDC physician was correct in telling Mr. Baller that the CDC makes no recommendations for wearing gloves when administering immunizations or any injections. As Mr. Baller notes, the CDC and OSHA do not call for wearing gloves unless hand contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials is reasonably anticipated (key word: "reasonably"). 1, 2 The CDC and OSHA do require the use of gloves for invasive procedures. 1


According to the CDC, invasive procedures include surgery, dental procedures, and childbirth by vaginal or cesarean delivery 3; injections are not identified as such. I recommend that nurses become acquainted with the CDC's evidence-based standard precautions (which stipulate when gloves should be worn). 1




1. Garner S, Hospital Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee. Guideline for isolation precautions in hospitals. 1997. [Context Link]


2. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Enforcement procedures for the occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens (Directive number CPL 02-02-069). 2001. [Context Link]


3. Recommendation for prevention of HIV transmission in health-care settings. MMWR Recomm Rep 1987;36(Suppl 2S):6S-7S. [Context Link]