Who Else Is At Risk
Anyone prone to allergies who works with or is often exposed to latex often has an increased risk in developing a latex allergy. The following is a list of people who are at high risk:
- Those with food-related cross-allergies
- People who require frequent medical procedures such as catheterization
- Childcare providers
- People who have had multiple surgeries , such as children with spina bifida
- People who are often exposed to natural rubber latex, including rubber industry workers
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology estimates that half of the people with a latex allergy also have other types of allergies, including hay fever and other food allergies. Often, these people are also allergic to certain foods that contain proteins biologically similar to those found in latex. This type of reaction is called cross-reactivity. Certain foods such as avocados, bananas, and kiwis are considered foods that have a high association with latex protein. In other words, people with a latex allergy may also experience symptoms when they consume these foods.
Hospitals Increasingly Are Powder
The risk of latex allergy and what should be done to prevent it have stirred controversy and provoked hundreds of lawsuits against glove manufacturers. Some consumer and union groups have called for a federal ban on powdered gloves, while latex backers have cautioned against a backlash that could lead to the use of gloves with less durability.
“Inconsistent federal and state initiatives to ban the use of powdered natural rubber latex gloves, lacking a sound scientific basis, have potentially ominous and costly implications for physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers,” stated F. Samuel Eberts III, assistant general counsel for Allegiance Healthcare Corp. of McGaw Park, IL, in a response to federal and state measures that was released on a latex Web site .
Allegiance, a leading manufacturer of latex and synthetic medical gloves, supports the FDA rule but believes customers should have the option of using powdered varieties, says spokeswoman Donna Gaidamak.
“Weve got clinical educators who work with our customers and try to help them set up protocols and identify latex-sensitive individuals,” says Gaidamak. “If one of our hospital customers wants to go in that direction , were happy to support them.”
Powder-free gloves cost, on average, $5.80 per 100, compared to $3.90 for powdered gloves, according to an FDA analysis. That amounts to about two cents more per pair.
“Were encouraging everyone to use latex-free wherever possible,” McAndrew says.
What Is A Latex Allergy Rash
image via Pixabay
A latex allergy rash is a rash that appears after contact with a product or substance containing the latex protein. In most cases, a latex allergy rash is a mild reaction that will usually resolve itself or resolve with the administration of an antihistamine. In rare instances, however, latex allergies can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.
For individuals allergic to latex, direct contact or even airborne contact with the offending allergen can trigger an over-exaggerated immune system response that leads to redness, itching, and in rare instances, death.
What Is Latex Allergy
Latex allergy is a reaction to certain proteins in latex rubber. The amount of latex exposure needed to produce sensitization or an allergic reaction is unknown. Increasing the exposure to latex proteins increases the risk of developing allergic symptoms. In sensitized persons, symptoms usually begin within minutes of exposure; but they can occur hours later and can be quite varied. Mild reactions to latex involve skin redness, rash, hives, or itching. More severe reactions may involve respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, and asthma . Rarely, shock may occur; however, a life-threatening reaction is seldom the first sign of latex allergy.
Care Of Patients With Latex Allergy
Avoidance of latex is the only available management for patients with latex allergy. Physicians must be aware of the products that may contain latex protein allergens, in order to produce a safe environment for patients and healthcare workers with latex allergy . Although the transition to powder-free latex gloves and/or latex-free examination and surgical gloves can be difficult,, it is one of the most important steps in creating this safe environment.17-20 Manufacturing practices have changed dramatically over the past decade, and fewer gloves are produced with powder, which means limited airborne contamination of the inhalable particles that carry latex proteins. Although it is inappropriate to use any latex products in direct contact with a patient or worker who has a known latex allergy, making a simple change to powder-free gloves will reduce the risk of inadvertent exposure from an environment contaminated by latex aeroallergen.
Preventing Allergic Reactions & Skin Irritation With Glove Use
Disposable gloves are an integral part of the health industry and are used in almost every sector of medicine, from hospital care to home care. Whenever dealing with a patient or resident, doctors, nurses, and healthcare specialists are expected to wear disposable gloves, to protect their health and the health of the patient or resident who they are caring for.
According to the World Health Organization, medical gloves are recommended to be worn for two main reasons: 1. To reduce the risk of contamination of health-care workers hands with blood and other body fluids., 2. ‘To reduce the risk of germ dissemination to the environment and of transmission from the health-care worker to the patient and vice versa, as well as from one patient to another.
Since the late 1980s, in the UK the use of gloves in the healthcare industry has become a regular part of medical practice. Gloves help to prevent accidental exposure to bacteria and contractible diseases for both the patient and the caregiver. Gloves are also beneficial for preventing accidental exposure to drugs and harmful chemicals used in medical facilities.
While disposable gloves are a vital resource in facilities such as hospitals and care homes, constant wear can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation to occur. The good news is that these reactions can be prevented, its just a case of knowing how to do so.
What causes allergies and irritations to gloves?
What should employers do?
What can team members do?
Prevention Of Latex Allergy
The only way to prevent an allergic reaction to latex is to avoid the substance. A new, natural rubber latex from the desert plant guayule is now being used for many products. This product is thought to be a safer alternative for people with latex allergy and healthcare workers.
Synthetic products are also safe. Substitutes for latex gloves, such as vinyl or nitrile gloves, should be used at all times by people with latex allergy.
Natural skin condoms are available, but while they protect against pregnancy, they do not shield against HIV or other sexually-transmitted diseases.
If you have mild skin reactions from latex, anti-inflammatory medications may help relieve symptoms.
People at risk of a serious, anaphylactic reaction to latex should carry autoinjectible epinephrine everywhere in case of emergency. Be sure to seek medial attention immediately in the event of a serious reaction.
Many common products contain latex, but you can usually find a suitable option. Prevent an allergic reaction to latex by avoiding these products:
- Dishwashing gloves
- Surgical masks
- Dental dams
Many health care facilities use nonlatex gloves. However, because other medical products may contain latex or rubber, be sure to tell doctors, nurses, dentists and other health care workers about your allergy before all exams or procedures.
Wearing a medical alert bracelet can inform others of your latex allergy.
Method 3 Of 3:treating Allergy Symptoms
Latex Allergy Diagnosis And Management
Professor Connie Katelaris, MD, PhDClinical Associate Professor, Dept. of Clinical Immunology and AllergyWestmead Medical Centre
Allergy to natural rubber latex is an important clinical condition that occurred after the institution of universal precautions. There was a rapid rise in the production of latex gloves with the institution of universal precautions to meet the needs of health care workers. This resulted in an epidemic of latex allergy in health care workers in both medical and dental environments as well as individuals with specific health problems such as spina bifida, myelodysplasia, urogenital abnormalities, multiple surgical interventions, and food allergies .
Allergies to natural latex gloves were identified as a serious health care problem in the late 1980s and 1990s. It is estimated that there are currently greater than 13 million people worldwide with over 1.5 million residing in the United States who have latex allergy. Over the past decade, the incidence has decreased due to the recommendation of avoiding powder latex gloves. However, the problem still has not gone away and remains high in third world countries where powder latex gloves continue to be used as they are cheaper than the non-latex alternatives.
HEVEA LATEX ALLERGENS
The main risk factors are occupational exposure and atopy. Individuals allergic to other allergens, e.g., fruits, and vegetables, or with eczema have a higher rate of latex allergy.
What Are The Reactions To Latex
Allergies to latex rubber have been identified as a serious concern for workers who become sensitized to latex gloves and other natural rubber-containing products such as medical supplies. Although the symptoms vary from case to case, the most common reaction to latex products is the development of dry, itchy, and irritated areas on the skin , usually the hands.
Other reactions may include rashes and skin blisters which can spread away from the area of skin touched by the latex . This reaction is similar to a poison ivy reaction.
A person may also be exposed by breathing in airborne latex particles . Because latex particles can become airborne, it may not be necessary for a person to have to touch a specific product that contains latex, as dusts containing the protein may settle on other surfaces.
More severe reactions may involve immediate hypersensitivity with respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, scratchy throat and asthmatic symptoms including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and more severe reactions such as swelling of the face, lips and airways.
Symptoms typically will quickly subside with avoidance; however, a person will remain sensitive.
Severe anaphylactic shock reactions may happen. However a life threatening reaction is rarely the first sign of a latex allergy. If a severe reaction occurs, get medical help immediately.
Health And Safety Report
Anthony was climbing a ladder when he accidentally disturbed a nest of angry hornets. He was stung several times and when his throat began to tighten and he had trouble breathing, he knew he was in trouble. His swollen red face alarmed his co-worker who made the lifesaving 911 call. Anthony is one of millions in North America who experience a life threatening anaphylactic reaction each year. Everyone deserves a safe workplace. There are things employers can do to prevent and prepare for anaphylaxis, and ensure they can respond effectively to protect the lives of their employees.AnaphylaxisAnaphylaxis is a life threatening allergic reaction that can develop quickly, affecting many different body organs and systems. Allergic reactions can be mild, affecting only the skin, to severe, affecting the airways and/or the heart, resulting in death. Signs and symptomsAnaphylaxis includes a range of symptoms that can occur in various combinations and be hard to recognize. If you are having an anaphylactic reaction, you may experience a few or all of these signs and symptoms:
- itching and/or swelling of the lips, tongue, palate, and throat
- swelling of the eyelids, and itchy, watery eyes
- hives and itching, flushing, or swelling of the skin
- rapid heart rate
- abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- difficulty breathing, wheezing, and asthma
- a feeling of impending doom
- weakness, faintness, and loss of consciousness
Employees with known anaphylaxis
Method 2 Of 3:identifying The Severity Of Your Allergy
Latex Allergy Prevention Reduction And Treatment
To minimize exposure, dental professionals should choose gloves that are powder free and have lower protein content. So-called hypoallergenic latex gloves do not reduce the risk of latex allergy, but they may reduce reactions to chemicals in the latex. For NRL-sensitized individuals who have access only to NRL gloves, it is best to use a cotton or other fabric glove liner to prevent the latex from coming into contact with the skin.
Synthetic rubber, vinyl, neoprene and nitrile gloves are an alternate to NRL in emergency medicine and comply with safety standards developed for Emergency Medical Technicians . Nitrile gloves are half as thick as latex, enhancing the tactile ability of the individual wearing the gloves. At the same time, these gloves are twice as puncture resistant as NRL gloves and are easy to don and remove. However, in recent studies, nitrile gloves leaked chemicals, such as alcohol, significantly more than latex gloves or vinyl gloves.
When wearing NRL gloves or using other NRL products, the appropriate practices should be used to reduce latex reactions. Do not use oil-based hand creams or lotions unless they are proven to reduce latex-related problems.
Healthcare workers should wash their hands with a mild soap and dry their hands thoroughly after removing latex gloves. Frequently clean areas that can be contaminated with latex dust. Change ventilation filters and vacuum bags used in these areas often.
Which Step Helps Prevent A Latex Glove Allergy
Which Step Helps Prevent A Latex Glove Allergy. How to avoid allergic reactions to latex? In people with allergies, contact dermatitis have a written anaphylaxis action plan.
Latex allergy a prevention guide. In addition, education serves to help people understand the symptoms and know how to recognize whether they are victims of latex latex allergies cause asthmatic conditions that make it quite difficult for patients to breath. Latex allergy & irritant contact dermatitis prevention tips for employees. You may have an allergy if you are experiencing common latex allergy symptoms. Preventing a latex allergy attack.
Causes Of Latex Allergy
In a latex allergy, your immune system identifies latex as a harmful substance and triggers certain antibodies to fight it off. The next time youre exposed to latex, these antibodies tell your immune system to release histamine and other chemicals into your bloodstream, producing a range of allergy signs and symptoms. The more times you are exposed to latex, the more strongly your immune system is likely to respond. This is called sensitization.
Latex allergy can occur in these ways:
- Direct contact. The most common cause of latex allergy involves touching latex-containing products, including latex gloves, condoms and balloons.
- Inhalation. Latex products, especially gloves, release latex particles, which you can breathe in when they become airborne. The amount of airborne latex from gloves differs greatly depending on the brand of glove used.
Its possible to have other skin reactions when using latex. They include:
- Allergic contact dermatitis. This reaction results from the chemical additives used during manufacturing. The main sign is a skin rash with formation of blisters 24 to 48 hours after exposure, similar to poison ivy.
- Irritant contact dermatitis. Not an allergy, this skin irritation is caused by wearing rubber gloves or exposure to the powder inside them. Signs and symptoms include dry, itchy, irritated areas, usually on the hands.
Latex Allergic People May Also Be Sensitive To Certain Foods
Some proteins in latex are also present in foods, and some people with latex allergy find that certain foods cause an itchy mouth or throat swelling. The most common foods described are banana, avocado, kiwi fruit, passionfruit, plums, strawberry and tomato. These foods do not have to be avoided routinely, unless they cause problems.
Saving Careers With New Non
Gloves are an important part of the personal protective equipment program for industrial operations. They protect the hands from all types of hazards, including chemicals, biological contaminates and general abuse from handling materials. Among the most common are disposable gloves made from natural and synthetic rubbers.
Although rubber gloves provide good protection from a wide variety of hazards, for a significant part of the workforce, these gloves pose problems of their own: allergic reactions. Proteins in natural latex or accelerators used in manufacturing synthetic rubber gloves can cause these reactions, which vary from mild skin irritation to contact dermatitis to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. The degree of sensitivity can increase over time. In many cases, the reactions can become sufficiently severe to prohibit an employee from using gloves, effectively ending their ability to work in certain industries or occupations.
Allergic reactions to latex that emerged just over a decade ago in nearly epidemic proportions have been well-documented and studied. We know a lot more now than we did 10 years ago about the cause of latex protein allergy; government and industry have taken significant action to reduce its human health impact. We have also learned something else more recently – that debilitating allergic reactions are caused by more than just latex. We now know that chemicals used to manufacture synthetic gloves can also cause allergic reactions.
Additional Precautions If Latex Allergy Is Confirmed And Symptoms Are Present:
- Avoid contact with latex gloves and other latex-containing products in the work place and at home.Avoid areas where the powder from latex gloves worn by other workers might be inhaled.
- Tell employers and healthcare providers about the latex allergy.Consider wearing a medical alert bracelet.
- Change protective clothing after any latex contact.
- Carefully follow physicians instructions for dealing with allergic reactions to latex.
- Determine and eliminate cause of irritation.
- Notify Employee Health Service.
- Restriction from direct patient care may be recommended if hands have broken skin or open, draining sores. This reduces the risk of acquiring or transmitting infection until the skin heals.
- Allow hands to heal. Steroid creams and moisturizes will repair the skin and reestablish integrity within two weeks
- Initiate a handwashing regime to reduce skin irritation.
- Consider glove liners, which may be beneficial.
- If irritation is related to powder, consider powder-free gloves.
- Glove option: Consider gloves which may have reduced chemical additives.
It Most Commonly Occurs Due To Contact With Latex Gloves And Produces A Range Of Symptoms Some Of Which Can Be Serious
They are using either latex or vinyl disposable they still may trigger reactions in workers who already have become allergic. Many cases of latex allergy have a connection to that latex allergy is actually caused by exposure to latex the latex dust in the air from balloons, disposable rubber gloves, e. When wearing latex gloves, use only approved barrier cream. Latex gloves have proved effective in preventing transmission of many infectious diseases to health care workers. Rubber gloves can contain cornstarch powder, which absorbs the latex and can become airborne when the gloves are removed.
In addition, education serves to help people understand the symptoms and know how to recognize whether they are victims of latex latex allergies cause asthmatic conditions that make it quite difficult for patients to breath. Latex gloves are durable, create a barrier between your skin and chemicals or contaminated the thin but effective coating of polymer prevents your hands from coming into direct contact with latex don’t let a latex glove allergy compromise your safety. There’s no cure for a latex allergy. Use a medicalert bracelet or necklace. Allergic reactions to latex may be serious and can very rarely be fatal.
the increase in latex allergies coincided with the advent of universal precautions and the increased use of latex examination gloves, many with high allergen.
How To Avoid Latex Allergies
- Use non-latex glove protection such as Nitrile or Vinyl
- Read the warning on the packaging/catalogue before ordering
- Provide reduced-protein, powder-free gloves, if latex gloves are selected for use with infectious materials
- Provide training to workers on latex allergies
- Promptly arrange a medical evaluation for workers with symptoms of latex allergy. Provide these employees with non-latex gloves
- Avoid oil-based creams or lotions when using latex gloves. They may cause the gloves to break down
- Wash hands with a mild soap and dry hands completely after using gloves.
Types Of Reactions To Latex
The common reactions of latex sensitive individuals exposed to latex are contact urticaria, dermatitis and asthma.
- Contact urticaria usually presents with itching and swelling of the skin at the site of contact with latex. This may, for example, be hands from wearing gloves, genitals from contact with condoms, etc. The symptoms usually start within 5 15 minutes after coming into contact with the latex article, although it can be delayed for several hours. Symptoms can continue for a variable period, from several hours to days after the latex contact has ceased.
- Delayed-type Contact Dermatitis from latex may take several days to appear. It presents with an itchy, scaly rash, although there may be small blisters if the reaction is acute. The rash will usually last several days to weeks but if exposure to latex continues, the rash will last longer. Contact dermatitis is not generally caused by sensitivity to latex protein but rather to the chemicals used in the manufacture of the latex product, including antioxidants and rubber accelerators e.g. thiuram, carbamates, MBT, etc.
Latex Is Used In A Large Number Of Products
Latex or natural rubber is the substance obtained from the sap of the Hevea brasiliensis tree. After the addition of preservatives and stabilisers, it is dipped into a mould, then heated and dried. During manufacturing, chemicals are added to render latex elastic and stable to heat by vulcanisation . Further chemicals are added for strength and durability, including mercaptobenzothiazole, thiurams and carbamates. Sometimes a dry powder lubricant , is added to the surface of the latex to prevent the rubber surfaces from sticking together.
Allergic reactions can occur to latex protein as well as the chemicals added to it, but not to cornstarch itself. However, when gloves are worn, latex protein can be leached from the glove and stick to the cornstarch particles. When gloves are changed, these particles can become airborne and spread latex allergen into the local environment.
Many commercial products contain natural rubber latex. These include bandages, baby bottle teats, baby dummies, rubber bands, clothing elastic, rubber toys, rubber grips and a wide range of medical equipment. Allergic reactions usually occur after exposure to dipped products like gloves, balloons and condoms. Products made from crepe latex rubber , are unlikely to cause allergic reactions.