Allergic Reactions To Latex Gloves

The natural rubber latex is a milky fluid which is derived from the rubber tree known as hevea brasiliensis. The gloves made from this natural rubber latex are known as Latex Gloves. These latex gloves can cause allergic reactions due to the proteins released by the latex.

Health Problems Caused by wearing Latex Gloves

For the past few years it can be observed that there is an increasing incidence of allergic reactions among the latex gloves users. According to current estimation up to 17% of health care workers, who are regular users of latex gloves, have developed an allergy to them. The more time the health care workers spend in contact with latex the more they are likely to become allergic patient. The three main types of health problems which can be caused by wearing regular natural rubber latex gloves are 1) irritant dermatitis, 2) allergic contact dermatitis and 3) immediate latex allergy.

1) Irritant Dermatitis: The Irritant dermatitis is the most common disease that is associated with wearing of latex gloves. It is mainly caused by repeated washing of hands and especially wearing of powdered gloves. Dry, itchy, irritated areas on the skin are the main symptoms of this disease. The Irritant dermatitis is not actually a true allergic reaction. The irritation may be caused both because of the powder in the gloves which acts as an irritant and because of the skin which stays moist for many hours during the day as we wear them. Washing of hands may also cause an irritation because of the strong scrubbing agents, soaps and detergents.

2) Allergic Contact Dermatitis: In case of allergic contact dermatitis which is also known as chemical sensitivity dermatitis the hands, wrists and even forearms develop a red, itchy rash, blisters, sores and cracks. This disease is an allergic reaction of the skin which is caused by the chemicals inside the latex gloves. The chemicals which are mainly responsible for the disease are the residues which were not completely removed during manufacturing process. The more one is exposed to these harmful chemicals the more he is likely to react with them.

3) Immediate Latex Allergy: The most common symptoms of this disease are skin redness, rash, hives and eczema. Sometimes more severe symptoms can be life-threatening such as respiratory symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, red itchy eyes, swollen face, scratchy throat, asthma and anaphylaxis. One is more likely to develop an immediate latex allergy as long as he is exposed to the proteins released by the latex gloves.

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