Latex is produced by rubber trees and processed into a variety of medical and household objects. Some proteins in latex can cause of range of mild to severe allergic reactions of three types: irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, and latex allergy. Symptoms include skin rashes, hives, itching, shortness of breath, asthma, and shock. The amount of exposure needed to cause sensitization is not known, however exposures at even very low levels can trigger allergic reactions in some sensitized individuals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal precautions in the use of latex gloves in a variety of settings.
What Healthcare workers should do
- Switch from latex gloves to latex-free glove alternatives.