Article - Why Wear Anti-Vib Gloves?

     Millions of Americans can be described as genuine, hands-on workers. They take pride in their craft, and they put in long, difficult days. Unfortunately, there is a price to be paid for all of this labor. Studies suggest that approximately two million American workers are afflicted by hand-arm vibration syndrome, or HAVS.

     HAVS can happen to workers in a wide range of occupations. Dentists and dental assistants get it from working daily with tools that vibrate. A wide range of construction and manufacturing workers are also susceptible to this debilitating condition. Anyone who routinely works with powered hand tools like jackhammers, grinders, rivet guns, drills, pneumatic tools, demolition tools, chainsaws and others may develop HAVS at some point during their working life. Others may be diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, another condition that is largely brought about by the stress of repetitive motion.

     People in the early stages of hand-arm vibration syndrome may notice several symptoms. Frequently, one of the earliest to manifest is a sensation of pins and needles in the hands and fingers. Sufferers may be afflicted with a loss of sensitivity and decreased grip force. This makes it difficult to pick up small items or perform precision tasks. If the condition progresses, it may become increasingly difficult to pick up and handle larger objects as well. Some people will develop blanching, which is also known as vibration-induced white finger. Essentially, this means that the finger or fingers turn white when exposed to cold conditions. Later, they may become flushed as temperatures change. These color changes can be accompanied by severe pain and decreased manual dexterity.

     It is very difficult for medical professionals to diagnose HAVS in its early stages. This is because the symptoms are caused by tiny changes in the hands and fingers. Repeated exposure to vibration causes damage to nerves and capillaries, effectively killing them. This is why people who suffer from HAVS typically have extensive loss of sensation in their fingers. However, these minute changes are not always detectable by medical science. In fact, many of the symptoms cannot be clinically diagnosed until the condition is already in its later stages.

     That is extremely bad news for workers who may have ignored the earliest symptoms. Once HAVS progresses beyond a certain point, the damage is irreversible. This means that even if the worker is reassigned or is no longer exposed to vibration, their condition will not improve. In extreme cases, so much damage has occurred to the tissue in the fingers that gangrene sets in. Physicians usually have little choice but to amputate once HAVS reaches this stage.

     Fortunately, workers have methods of protecting themselves from reaching the later stages of HAVS. It's helpful to be aware of the early symptoms of the syndrome. The tingling or numbness in the fingers is a warning of more severe problems to come. Sometimes, these sensations happen in the midst of the workday, but other times they don't start until the evening. Continually being mindful of the condition of the hands and arms can go a long way toward preventing HAVS from settling in for good.

     The other, genuinely important step workers can take to protect themselves is to invest in a good quality pair of anti-vibration gloves. These specially designed gloves are built to absorb impact so that the hands, fingers and arms don't have to. Made from advanced materials including Kevlar and thermal plastic, these gloves are supple yet supportive. Best of all, they have the features that are required to protect a worker's hands from the damage that can be caused by repeated exposure to vibration.

     Anti-vibration gloves are available in a wide variety of styles. Some of these have a low-profile wrist cuff that allows for full range of motion. Others are fingerless for those jobs where manual dexterity is key. Some offer full coverage to protect your hands from all possible angles. When you wear anti-vibration gloves, you'll find that your hands don't tire out as quickly. You'll be able to stick with a job until it's done, and you're much less likely to feel the early-warning signs of HAVS or carpal tunnel syndrome.

     Even if you don't feel any of the early symptoms of HAVS, wearing anti-vibration gloves should be an important part of your work day. Some workers can go for years without having any symptoms, but this doesn't mean that they won't someday develop the condition. The best antidote is wearing anti-vibration gloves right from the beginning.

     Don't take chances with the health of your hands and arms. Protect yourself from repeated exposure to vibration by wearing anti-vibration gloves every day.