ALLERGIC REACTIONS TO LATEX
Workers exposed to latex gloves and other products containing natural rubber latex may develop allergic reactions. The exact cause of latex allergy is unknown, but it is thought that repeated exposure to latex and rubber products may induce symptoms.
SYMPTOMS OF LATEX ALLERGY
- Skin rashes
- Nasal, eye or sinus symptoms
- Respiratory tract infections
- Anaphylactic shock
- Death (rare)
WHAT TO DO WHEN LATEX ALLERGY REACTION OCCURS
Tell your supervisor.
- See a physician.
- If you are high risk, wear a medical alert bracelet.
- If you are high risk, you should be screened periodically for latex allergy symptoms.
- In severe cases, 9–1–1 should be called
Use non–latex gloves when contact with infectious material is not likely. (Food preparation, housekeeping, maintenance, etc.)
- Use powder–free gloves with reduced protein content if latex gloves are required.
- Do not use oil–based hand creams or lotions when wearing latex gloves.
- Wash hands with mild soap and dry thoroughly after removing latex gloves.
- Clean work areas contaminated with latex dust. (Upholstery, carpets, ventilation ducts, etc.)
- Change ventilation filters and vacuum bags often when used in latex–contaminated areas
- Prevention strategies should be evaluated whenever a latex allergy is diagnosed.
- Efforts to decrease the amount of latex used can help to lessen latex allergies. (Vinyl gloves can be used in most cases.)
- Use powder–free gloves.