What Should I Know About Latex Allergies:

Matrix Medical Supplies recommends that individuals who suspect that they have become sensitized to latex consult a dermatologist. The information provided here is for educational purposes and is not substitute for medical advice from a licensed physician.It is important to know that powder free latex gloves are not suitable for individuals who have latex protein allergies.

Irritation versus Allergy

It is important for users to be aware that not all skin irritations are latex allergies. Several factors, such as scrubbing solutions, glove powder, antiseptics, improper washing, moisturizing lotions, topical creams and drying of hands may result in irritations. Generally, glove sensitivities can be attributed to simple irritation, chemical allergy, and/or latex protein allergy.

Irritations (Non-Allergy)

Symptoms:

  • Itching, burning, redness (acute).
  • Dryness, crusting, cracking, formation of hard bumps (chronic).
  • Symptoms will present only on skin areas covered by the glove.

Possible Causes:

  • Chemicals used in the manufacturing of gloves.
  • Soaps, antiseptics, scrub solutions and disinfectants.
  • Atmosphere – cold, wind, aridity.
  • Improper hand washing and drying.

Treatments:

  • Identify and discontinue use of causative factor
  • Consider soaps etc. as well as the gloves as potential causes.
  • Allow time for your hands to heal.
  • Take steps to improve hand care practices.
  • Type IV or Contact Dermatitis (Chemical Allergy)

Symptoms:

  • May present as itching, dryness, redness, crusting, swelling, hives vesicles/blisters, papules and/or sores.
  • Symptoms will present 1 – 2 days following contact.
  • In chronic cases these symptoms may spread beyond the area of glove contact to other sites on the body.
  • There is no respiratory or facial involvement, nor will the symptoms progress to anaphylaxis.
  • These symptoms will diminish within two weeks of discontinuing use

Possible Causes:

  • Manufacturing chemicals
  • Soaps, detergents, antiseptics, and disinfectants
  • Other allergies and/or chronic eczema

Treatment:

  • Identify and discontinue use of causative factor.
  • Allow time for your hands to heal.
  • Consult with a dermatologist to select an alternative glove type (formulated for chemical allergies).

Type I (Protein Allergy)

Symptoms:

  • A rash or hives (urticaria) located anywhere on the body.
  • Accompanying respiratory affection (wheezing, difficult breathing).
  • Swelling of the facial area.
  • Possible abdominal cramping, nausea and increased pulse.
  • Symptoms will present within minutes of contact with a latex product.

Possible Causes:

  • Natural Rubber Latex protein allergy.
  • Cross reactivity to certain food allergies (kiwi fruit, bananas, chestnuts, avocado).
  • Affection through skin contact, mucous membrane or wound contact, and/or injection aspiration.

Treatment:

  • Identify and discontinue use of causative factor.
  • Seek professional medical attention. Treatment with adrenaline/epinephrine may be required in the case of anaphylactic shock (rarely occurs).
  • Diagnostic testing involves a Skin Prick Test.
  • Avoid all contact with natural rubber latex, both at work and at home.
  • Consult with a dermatologist to select an alternative glove type (latex-free).