Latex allergy in medical gloves

latex_allergyAllergy to natural rubber latex is increasingly common and serious in children and adults. Latex is the milky fluid derived from the lactiferous cells of the rubber tree, (Hevea brasiliensis). It is composed primarily of cis -1,4-polyisoprene, a benign organic polymer that confers most of the strength and elasticity of latex. It also contains a large variety of sugars, lipids, nucleic acids, and highly allergenic proteins.

More than 200 polypeptides have been isolated from latex. Latex proteins vary in their allergenic potential. Protein content varies with harvest location and manufacturing process. Basic knowledge of the manufacturing processes helps in understanding the medical problems related to latex exposure.

Freshly harvested latex from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and South America is treated with ammonia and other preservatives to prevent deterioration during transport to factories. Latex is treated with antioxidants and accelerators including thiurams, carbamates, and mercaptobenzothiazoles. It is then shaped into the desired object and vulcanized to produce disulfide cross-linking of latex molecules.

After being dried and rinsed to reduce proteins and impurities, the product frequently is dry-lubricated with cornstarch or talc powder. Powder particles rapidly adsorb residual latex proteins; other proteins remain in soluble form on the surface of finished products.

Latex is ubiquitous in modern society and particularly in health care. Latex has been used in a myriad of medical devices for decades. The incidence of minor and serious allergic reactions to latex began to rise rapidly among patients and health care workers. Latex sensitization can occur after skin or mucosal contact, after peritoneal contact during surgery, and possibly after inhalation of aerosolized particles with latex on their surfaces.

Three types of reactions can occur when using latex products:

Irritant Contact Dermatitis : This is the most common negative reaction to latex. Symptoms include dry, itchy, irritated skin—most often on the hands.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis (delayed hypersensitivity) : This skin reaction looks like the rash from contact with poison ivy and usually shows up 24–96 hours after contact.

Latex Allergy (immediate hypersensitivity) : This type of reaction usually happens within minutes of exposure, but symptoms can also show up a few hours later. Symptoms of a mild reaction are skin redness, hives, or itching. Symptoms of more serious reactions might include runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, wheezing, coughing, or difficulty with breathing. Rarely, shock may occur, but a life-threatening reaction is seldom the first sign of sensitivity. A latex-exposed worker developing any serious allergic reactions should be taken to a doctor immediately.

What should employers do?

  • Provide workers with non-latex gloves when there is little contact with infectious material.
  • Consider the use of vinyl, nitrile, or polymer gloves appropriate for infectious materials.
  • Provide reduced-protein, powder-free gloves, if latex gloves are selected for use with infectious materials.
  • Provide training to workers on latex allergy.
  • Promptly arrange a medical evaluation for workers with symptoms of latex allergy. Provide these employees with non-latex gloves.

 

Advertisements

About thomasdinnocenzi

Thomas D’Innocenzi is a highly accomplished, results-focused international consultant with extensive experience in global sourcing and business development worldwide to meet evolving business needs. Tom has proven ability in implementing and managing profitable global marketing and sourcing operations. He has extensive experience in international business development to accommodate rapid growth. Skilled in building top-performing teams, bench-marking performance, and developing organizations to improve efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Experienced transition leader and change agent. Tom founded Nova Advisors with the mission of providing expert Global Business Development consulting services for companies seeking to expand their market share as an independent consultant. Tom has a network of experts and advisors throughout the Asia-Pacific region and North America. His expertise includes business development, global sourcing, manufacturing, commodities, logistics, QA/QC, FDA, regulatory compliance, sustainability, and supply chain optimization. Tom is experienced in the medical device, apparel, consumer goods and technology services verticals helping companies advance their global sourcing capabilities and develop new markets through a local and sustained approach. Located in SE Asia and the United States, Tom expands market reach to drive sales. His global sourcing strategy includes directly negotiating with commodity suppliers, supply chain networks and distributors for optimal terms based on his expertise and first-hand knowledge of the players. Contact Tom to use his consulting service to increase your global market and make global sourcing profitable for you in the Asia Pacific Region and the United States. http://www.NovaAdvisors.com thomas@NovaAdvisors.com USA Direct: +1.904.479.3600 SINGAPORE: +65.6818.6396 THAILAND: +662.207.9269
This entry was posted in Medical Devices and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s