Latex gloves, Vinyl gloves, Nitrile Gloves

Latex Allergy

Products that contain natural rubber latex, like our latex gloves, are known to cause allergic reactions in some individuals. To help you better understand latex gloves and how they relate to latex allergies, we have prepared a short guide.

  1. What is latex?
  2. What is a latex allergy?
  3. Who is at risk of developing latex allergy?
  4. How can I protect myself from latex allergy?
  5. Are there other type of reactions to latex besides latex allergies?

 
 
 

What is latex?

 
Latex is a generic term for both synthetic and natural rubber. However it is commonly used to refer to the sap of the hevea brasiliensis tree. The tree is commonly grown in tropical climates and the sap is collected and processed to manufacture a wide range of rubber products and gloves.

 
 

What is latex allergy?

 
A latex allergy is a reaction to proteins present in the latex from the hevea brasilliensis tree. The reaction most commonly occurs when coming in to contact with a product made from latex, but can also be triggered by aerosolized latex proteins in powdered gloves.

Latex allergy symptoms usually begin within minutes of exposure to latex proteins. However they can manifest several hours after initial exposure, and anywhere in between. Common reactions to latex range from rashes and hives to more severe respiratory symptoms like asthma and wheezing. At the extreme end, individuals with severe latex allergy can even go into life threatening anaphylactic shock. While it is not known how much exposure to latex is required to trigger a reaction, continuous exposure to latex proteins increases the risk of developing allergic sensitization and symptoms.

 
 

Who is at risk of developing latex allergy?

 
Individuals frequently exposed to latex and rubber products. Especially those who frequently use latex gloves in their line of work, like healthcare workers. Some individuals with certain preexisting conditions will be more likely to have or develop a sensitization to latex. These include individuals who have:

  • Food allergies, especially to bananas, avocados, kiwis and chestnuts;
  • History of multiple surgeries or a history of spinal injuries;
  • Eczema, asthma

 
 

How can I protect myself from latex allergies?

 
The best way to prevent a latex allergy is to completely avoid all products that contain latex proteins, for example switching from latex gloves to latex free gloves. Individuals who suspect that they might have a latex allergy should get allergy testing done to confirm whether they have a latex allergy.

 
 

Are there other types of reactions to latex besides latex allergy?

 
Besides latex allergies, irritant contact dermatitis is another common reaction to latex proteins. This normally manifests as dry, itchy and irritated skin around the areas that common in to contact with the latex protein and can take upwards of 12 hours after exposure to manifest.

Allergic contact dermatitis is another common reaction, this is a reaction to chemicals used in the manufacturing process that are known to cause reactions. Allergic contact dermatitis frequently manifests as skin rashes or redness upwards of 24 hours after initial exposure.

Neither irritant contact dermatitis or allergic contact dermatitis is a considered a true allergy.

 

 

Worried about latex allergies? Get your nitrile gloves today:


 

 
 

 

Further resources:

American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology – http://www.acaai.org/allergist/allergies/Types/latex-allergy/Pages/default.aspx

Occupational Safety & Health Administration – http://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib012808.html

Center for Disease Control and Prevention – http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/98-113/

 

Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is for reference purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis. Individuals concerned with latex allergies should seek appropriate medical attention.