Effective ways of preventing latex allergies in the workplace

Pacifiers Baby bottle nipples Individuals who already have latex allergy should be aware of latex-containing products that may trigger an allergic reaction. Some of the listed products are available in latex-free forms. Latex in the Workplace Workers in the health care industry physicians, nurses, dentists, technicians, etc.

Effective ways of preventing latex allergies in the workplace

Latex-allergy prevention and control strategies in healthcare Patients Assessment Patients should be assessed to determine if they have a known latex allergy or are at high risk for a latex allergy and in need of an evaluation to determine the type of latex precautions or latex-free environment that may be needed.

This might include might include the use of a latex-free products or procedure trays, latex-safe hospital room, or latex-free procedure or operating room. The development of latex allergy precautions in the health care settings involves a multidisciplinary approach to ensure that all diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and clinical care are provided in a latex safe environment.

Policies Collaboration in developing these latex allergy precautions should include the medical and nursing staff, material management, operating room, laboratory, pharmacy, dietary and environmental services.

Sample policies Two sample latex allergy precaution policies are provided that contain examples of approaches used in healthcare settings.

Complete avoidance is the most effective approach to preventing any allergy, although this is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. A more realistic approach is to reduce latex exposures. Strategies to reduce exposures include the use of non-latex gloves when there is little potential for contact with infectious materials e.

While there is insufficient clinical data to calculate the precise amount of extractable latex protein in a latex glove that will cause sensitization or a reaction, it is known that reduced levels of latex protein decrease the risk of sensitization.

To support the identification of these gloves, the FDA permits label claims of reduced latex protein for example, gloves with 50 micrograms or less of total water extractable latex protein per gram.

Environmental strategies Other strategies include good housekeeping practices to remove Effective ways of preventing latex allergies in the workplace dust from the workplace through identification of areas contaminated with latex dust, and the scheduling of these areas for frequent cleaning including upholstery, carpets, ventilation ducts, and plenums.

Ventilation filters and vacuum bags should also be changed frequently in latex-contaminated areas. Healthcare workers Staff training Workers should receive training and education about the risks associated with latex allergies, signs and symptoms of reactions, and methods to reduce risks of exposure.

Essential strategies for preventing long-term, serious health effects include periodic screening of high-risk workers for symptoms of latex allergy and alterations in the work place to minimize or eliminate exposure to latex for symptomatic workers.

The information obtained from periodic screening of workers and identification of workers with latex allergies should be used for evaluation and revision of current prevention strategies.

Latex-safe environment Once a worker becomes allergic to latex, special precautions are needed to prevent exposures at work as well as during medical or dental care Many facilities maintain latex-safe areas for affected patients and workers by using non-latex gloves for workers and non-latex medical devices and supplies for patients.

Given the large number of items containing latex in hospitals, it is very difficult to maintain a completely latex-free environment. Many healthcare facilities seek to identify latex-free products in order to limit exposures to allergic individuals.

Intact synthetic or latex gloves provide a barrier against exposure. However, some non-latex gloves e. To reduce the risk of exposing others to aerosolized latex protein allergens, non-latex allergic individuals should wear a non-latex e.

Effective ways of preventing latex allergies in the workplace

Workers with systemic reactions to latex exposures may need to be reassigned to work areas with limited latex exposure. However, traditionally, latex examination gloves have been flesh- or bisque-colored.

In an effort to differentiate between latex and non-latex gloves, manufacturers began offering the non-latex for example, nitrile gloves in bright colors like purple and green, a particular advantage for the worker with a latex allergy.

Some manufacturers may offer both latex and non-latex in multiple colors, including purple, lilac, blue, green, and pink. Although brightly colored latex gloves may have appeal, there is concern that it may have unintended outcomes for workers and patients with latex allergies who have relied on the color of gloves to distinguish between them.

Although the FDA requires labeling of medical products that contain latex, many workers may not read the label prior to glove use because they have relied on the color.

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Also, clinical staff may use gloves that have been removed from the original box and placed in a dispenser or gloves from a dispenser that covers the labeling on the box. There is also a serious risk for the patient with a latex allergy if the clinician mistakenly uses latex gloves during patient care.

Reduced risk of latex allergies associated with glove color The issue of glove color needs to be addressed by each healthcare organization as it develops and revises its glove use and latex allergy prevention policies.

Strategies and issues to consider include: Type of gloves used in the facility, including the designated colors of both latex and non-latex. Reported allergic latex reactions in patients or workers because of selection of incorrect glove based on color.

Inclusion of the criteria of glove color in all evaluations and selections of gloves. Management of workers with allergic reactions Irritation 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.

Effective ways of preventing latex allergies in the workplace

Steroid creams and moisturizes will repair the skin and reestablish integrity within two weeks Note: Oil-based lotions may deteriorate gloves, and must not be worn under them.The purpose of this article is to raise awareness of latex allergies within the workplace enviornment so workers understand the risks associated with latex exposure.

In addition, education serves to help people understand the symptoms and know how to recognize whether they are victims of latex sensitivity.

Preventing Allergic Reactions to. The following recommendations for preventing latex allergy in the workplace (NIOSH, ; OSHA ) are based on current knowledge and a common-sense approach to minimizing latex . Preventing the Spread of Infectious Diseases at Work.

As with other hazards, the best way to protect workers is to get rid of the hazard. The strategy for protecting workers from infectious diseases should start with the most effective methods.

The symptoms for latex allergy include: swelling, itching, burning, redness and hives. Severe. ALERT Preventing Allergic Reactions to Natural Rubber Latex in the Workplace DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No.

(NIOSH) requests assistance in preventing allergic reactions to natural rubber latex* among workers who use gloves and other products containing latex. Latex gloves have proved effective in preventing transmission of many. Preventing Latex Allergies Before They Attack Date: October 4, Source: Columbia University College Of Physicians And Surgeons Summary: Scientists at Columbia University have developed a new.

For additional information about latex allergy, or to request a copy of NIOSH Alert No. , Preventing Allergic Reactions to Natural Rubber Latex in the Workplace, call 1 .

CDC - Latex Allergies - NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic