The introduction of universal glove precautions in healthcare settings to prevent the transmission of disease has increased the exposure of healthcare professionals to natural rubber latex gloves1.
This increased level of exposure has resulted in a rise in the prevalence of natural rubber latex allergies. Studies estimate that between 0.6% and 10% of healthcare population are effected by natural rubber latex allergies. The prevalence in the general population is estimated to be lower than 1%1,2,3.
Adverse reactions to natural rubber latex gloves can range from general skin irritations to serious allergic responses. It is important to note that allergic reactions may be a response to the natural rubber from which the glove is made (Type I Allergy) or to other chemicals used in the manufacturing process (Irritant Contact Dermatitis and Type IV Allergy).
Today the incidence of Type I natural rubber allergy is decreasing due to a steady improvement in manufacturing technologies, latex allergy education and the development of latex alternatives such as nitrile⁴. Likewise, changes to manufacturing processes, has also seen a reduction in chemicals that can cause Type IV allergic reactions5.
In this section you will find information regarding the types of adverse skin reactions commonly experienced, advice on how to minimise the risk of developing an allergic reaction to medical gloves, suitable gloves for latex allergies and sensitivity sufferers as well as information about what Ansell is doing to reduce the allergenicity of their medical gloves.
Source: Latex Allergy Management, Ansell Cares
- O’Gilvie, W. Latex sensitisation in the health care setting. Device Bulletin 9601 April 1996, The Medical Devices Agency of the Department of Health.
- Sussman, E. AAAAI: Latex sensitivity infrequent in health care workers. In: Doctor’s guide global edition. 2003.
- Sussman G.The effects of interventions and glove changes in health care workers with latex allergy. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2003; 90:179-80.
- Yip ES. Comments to the Maine legislate on proposed prohibition of sale of non-sterile latex gloves. 2003.
Source: Recent Changes in Natural Rubber Latex Medical Gloves and Comparison With Synthetic Material, http://www.anselleurope.com/medical/downloads/Ansell_position_paper.pdf
- Aalto-Korte K, Ackermann L, Henriks-Eckerman ML, et al. 2007 1,2-benzisothiazolin-3-one in disposable polyvinyl chloride gloves for medical use. Contact Dermatitis 57: 365-370