By: Anita A .Desai

Senior Lecturer
Textile Technology Department,
Sarvajanik College of Engineering & Technology,
Surat, India.
Email: aap_desai@yahoo.co.in

Abstract:

An important and growing part of the textile Industry is the medical and related healthcare and hygiene sectors. The number of applications range from the simple cleaning wipe to the advanced barrier fabrics used for operating rooms. New cost-effective ways to protect both hospital staff and their patients from bacteria; viruses and body fluid invasions in operating room environments are being developed. This paper reviews the healthcare and hygiene products used extensively today.

Introduction:

An important and growing part of the textile Industry is the medical and related healthcare and hygiene sectors. Textile has always been a part of healthcare. The range of products available is vast but typically they are used in the operating room theatre or on the hospital ward for the hygiene, care and safety of staff and patients. The number of applications range from the simple cleaning wipe to the advanced barrier fabrics used for operating rooms.

Production of hygiene and medical textiles is on increase, as is the variety of applications in this important sector. By 2005, hygiene and medical textiles valued at US$4.1 billion are predicted to account for 1.65 Mt (almost 12%) of the global technical textiles market.

The medical textile products can be organized into three basic categories � patient specific, general patient management and procedure specific. The patient specific items include sponges, sheets, burn sheets, etc. Under-pads, adult diapers and wipes are supposed to be patient management products. The third category of procedure specific products include sterilization wrap, surgical gowns, drapes, table covers, face masks, head and shoe covers.

An unorganized sector of manufacturers has been catering largely to the third and the biggest segment of the healthcare and hygiene products. Here too MNCs like Johnson & Johnson, Smith & Nephew, Kimberly Clark and Beiersdorf are the major players as they manufacture special type of bandages and wound care products compared to the simple ones made by Indian Companies.

Manufacturers of textiles for medical applications know the challenges and the need to develop new cost-effective ways to protect both hospital staff and their patients from bacteria; viruses and body fluid invasions in operating room environments have occupied research labs and testing facilities for the last few years.

Products:

The healthcare and hygiene products are as follows:

Medical and Pharmacy division: Adult Incontinence pads, Rectangular pads, shaped pads, urine collector and bag, feminine maternity pad, cotton mesh maternity pads, nursing wipes, gauze, wound dressing, surgical drapes, gowns, plaster, face mask, operation room table and tray covers, head wear, under pads, X ray gowns, scrub suits, barrier and isolation gowns, patient exam gowns, ostonomy bag, super absorbent fabrics, etc. are some products in this division.