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FAQs

I've switched to natural rubber latex-free gloves. Why am I still suffering?

As not all adverse reactions to medical gloves are natural rubber latex allergies, it is important to be aware of other sources of irritation.6 Other adverse reactions include chemical allergies, delayed contact dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, responses to glove powder and other sensitising substances used in glove manufacture. In addition, an adverse reaction may actually be in response to the use of soaps, hand scrubs and abrasive hand towels. Correct recognition and management are the keys to successfully managing allergies and other glove irritations, therefore Ansell recommends being tested for a chemical allergy or sensitivity.

Ansell offers a selection of products for sensitivity suffers , including natural rubber latex and chemical accelerator free surgical and examination gloves.

Why do most gloves contain chemical accelerators?

Chemical accelerators are added during the glove manufacturing process to:

  • Provide elasticity (stretch) to the glove
  • Allow cross-linking of the glove material to give strength to the glove
  • Give integrity to the glove material during use
  • Stabilise the glove material for long term storage

The use of chemical accelerators is not limited to the manufacture of latex gloves. They are also present in latex free gloves such as nitrile, neoprene or polyisoprene gloves.
Ansell offers a selection of chemical accelerator-free surgical and examination gloves for sensitivity suffers .
For more information, download a Fact Sheet on Chemical Accelerators in Ansell Gloves

What is a latex allergy?

A latex allergy, also known as a type I response, is a reaction to residual proteins found in natural rubber latex. 1 While there are more than 250 different types of latex proteins, approximately 20% are allergenic. The reaction is immediate, typically occurring 5 - 30 minutes after initial contact. The symptoms are commonly:

  • Swelling and redness, local to the site of exposure
  • Non-specific symptoms such as itching and burning

The symptoms can spread to areas remote to the site of contact with the glove, and can be accompanied by:

  • Conjunctivitis
  • Rhinitis
  • Bronchial obstruction

Ansell have a range of latex free gloves suitable for people suffering from a latex allergy.

Reference:
1. O’Gilvie, W. Latex sensitisation in the healthcare setting. Device Bulletin 9601 April 1996, The Medical Devices Agency of the Department of Health.

 

I’m allergic to latex. What gloves can I use?

Ansell offer a range of latex free examination and surgical gloves that are suitable for a variety of medical and surgical procedures, as well as for use by scientists, vets and other healthcare professionals.
Click here to view Ansell’s range of latex free examination gloves .
Click here to view Ansell’s range of latex free surgical gloves .

Some of the nurses on my ward come out in a rash when they wear latex gloves. What kind of gloves should we order for nurses with sensitive skin? We need both surgical gloves and exam gloves.

Although latex allergies (type I response) are prevalent among healthcare workers, it is important to note that not all reactions to medical gloves are caused by latex. Chemical allergies (type IV response), which are caused by chemicals like DPG added during glove manufacture, are a growing problem for healthcare workers.
Ansell manufactures a wide range of non-latex and chemical-free options for both examination and surgical settings.
Surgical Gloves

For healthcare workers who suffer from contact dermatitis (type IV allergies) to chemical accelerators, Ansell’s accelerator-free neoprene GAMMEX® PF DermaPrene® gloves are the ideal choice.

Exam Gloves

Ansell’s accelerator-free nitrile exam glove, Micro-Touch® NitraFree® offers extra protection to healthcare workers who have type IV allergies to chemical accelerators

References:
1. Types of eczema: hand dermatitis. EczemaNet Web site. skincarephysician.com/eczema.net/hand_dermatitis.html . Updated December 7, 2006. Accessed July 20, 2011.
2. Kjellén MB. Handeksem av latexfria handskar [Hand eczema from latex-free gloves]. Uppdukat. 2010;2:30-31.
3. Rose RF, Lyons P, Horne H, Wilkinson SM. A review of the materials and allergens in protective gloves. Contact Dermatitis. 2009; 61:129-137

I’ve been told that I have “occupational irritant contact dermatitis”, what kind of gloves should I be using?

Occupational irritant contact dermatitis (type IV response), also known as contact dermatitis or chemical allergy/ sensitivity, is a non-immune reaction to the chemicals added during glove manufacture that affects some glove users. Diphenylguanidine (DPG) is a chemical accelerator used in glove manufacture. Chemical accelerators, like DPG, are the primary cause of contact dermatitis (type IV response).
Ansell recommends using chemical accelerator-free gloves as they have been washed or leached during the manufacturing process to reduce residual chemicals, which may trigger a reaction.
Ansell’s range of DPG-free, polyisoprene surgical gloves offer superior allergy protection, and latex-like comfort, for healthcare workers suffering from latex allergies and type IV allergies caused by DPG. Ansell’s DPG-free polyisoprene gloves include:

Click here to view Ansell’s range of chemical accelerator - free gloves .

What’s the difference between a latex allergy and contact dermatitis?

A latex allergy (Immediate type I response) is a reaction to residual proteins found in natural rubber latex. The reaction is immediate, typically occurring 5 - 30 minutes after initial contact. The symptoms are commonly:

  • Swelling and redness, local to the site of exposure
  • Non-specific symptoms such as itching and burning

The symptoms can spread to areas remote to the site of contact with the glove, and can be accompanied by:

  • Conjunctivitis
  • Rhinitis
  • Bronchial obstruction

In rare cases, symptoms of anaphylaxis can occur.
Contact dermatitis (Delayed Type IV Response), sometimes referred to as a chemical allergy, is a reaction to specific allergens such as chemical residues from the glove manufacturing process (commonly chemical accelerators like DPG).8 The response is delayed rather than immediate, usually occurring 6- 48 hours after initial contact, although symptoms can last for up to four days.
The symptoms include:

  • Erythema
  • Swelling
  • Cracking
  • Itching
  • Weeping
  • Dryness of the skin at the site (dermatitis may extend beyond the area of contact)

Correct recognition and management are the keys to successfully managing allergies and other glove irritations, therefore Ansell recommends being tested for a chemical allergy or sensitivity. In the interim, if you suspect that you suffer from a latex allergy or chemical sensitivity, Ansell recommends that you switch to a latex-free and chemical accelerator free glove.

Ansell offers a selection of products for sufferers of allergies and sensitivities, including natural rubber latex and chemical accelerator free surgical and examination gloves.

References:
1. Types of eczema: hand dermatitis. EczemaNet Web site.skincarephysician.com/eczema.net/hand_dermatitis.html. Updated December 7, 2006. Accessed July 20, 2011.
2. Kjellén MB. Handeksem av latexfria handskar [Hand eczema from latex-free gloves]. Uppdukat. 2010;2:30-31.
3. Rose RF, Lyons P, Horne H, Wilkinson SM. A review of the materials and allergens in protective gloves. Contact Dermatitis. 2009; 61:129-137

Who is most at risk of developing a latex allergy?

Latex allergies are an established concern for healthcare workers and patients. About 1% to 2% of the general population are allergic to latex. However, repeated exposure to latex greatly increases the risk of developing a latex allergy. 1 
People at risk include:

  • Patients who have had multiple surgical procedures-prevalence of 18% to 37%2
  • Patients with spina bifida- at the highest risk of latex allergy with a prevalence of 20% to 67%1
  • Healthcare workers who work in operating rooms, laboratories, or hemodialysis centers1

References:
1. Pollart SM, Warniment C, Mori T. Latex allergy. Am Fam Physician. 2009;80:1413-1418.
2. Deval R, Ramesh V, Prasad GBKS, Jain AK. Natural rubber latex allergy. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2008;74:304-310

I’ve heard that DPG is used in gloves and can cause allergies? What is it?

DPG or diphenylguanidine, is a chemical accelerator used in glove manufacture. Chemical accelerators, like DPG, are the primary cause of contact dermatitis (Type IV response).
In response to growing concerns regarding chemical allergies (contact dermatitis) in the healthcare industry, Ansell has developed a DPG-free, polyisoprene (non-latex) formulation. Ansell’s range of polyisoprene surgical gloves offers superior allergy protection, and latex-like comfort, for healthcare workers suffering from latex allergies and Type IV allergies caused by DPG. Ansell’s DPG-free polyisoprene gloves include:

Ansell’s latex-free and accelerator-free neoprene option, GAMMEX® PF DermaPrene®, offers extra protection to healthcare workers who have type IV allergies to chemical accelerators

References:
1. Heese A, v Hintzenstern J, Peters K-P, Koch HU, Hornstein OP. Allergic and irritant reactions to rubber gloves in medical health services. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1991; 25:831-839.
2. Kjellén MB. Handeksem av latexfria handskar [Hand eczema from latex-free gloves]. Uppdukat. 2010; 2:30-31.
3. Rose RF, Lyons P, Horne H, Wilkinson SM. A review of the materials and allergens in protective gloves. Contact Dermatitis. 2009; 61:129-137

I’m a theatre nurse and sometime I get a rash from the gloves I’m wearing, but not always when I use latex gloves. If I don’t have a latex allergy, what could be causing the reaction?

It is important to note that not all reactions are due to a latex allergy. The ‘rash’ could be a form of contact dermatitis (Type IV Response) , which is also referred to as a chemical allergy. Chemical allergies are a reaction to specific allergens such as chemical residues from the glove manufacturing process (commonly chemical accelerators like DPG).8 
Ansell’s range of DPG-free, polyisoprene surgical gloves offer superior allergy prevention and latex-like comfort for healthcare workers suffering from latex allergies and Type IV allergies caused by DPG. Ansell’s DPG-free polyisoprene gloves include:

Ansell’s accelerator-free neoprene option, GAMMEX® PF DermaPrene® , offers extra protection to healthcare workers who have type IV allergies to chemical accelerators.

References:
1. Heese A, v Hintzenstern J, Peters K-P, Koch HU, Hornstein OP. Allergic and irritant reactions to rubber gloves in medical health services. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1991;25:831-839.
2. Kjellén MB. Handeksem av latexfria handskar [Hand eczema from latex-free gloves]. Uppdukat. 2010;2:30-31.
3. Rose RF, Lyons P, Horne H, Wilkinson SM. A review of the materials and allergens in protective gloves. Contact Dermatitis. 2009;61:129-137

What are the best gloves for dentists?

Micro-Touch® DentaGlove® is the glove of choice for most Australian dentists, making them the number one dental gloves in Australia. MicroTouch DentaGlove is popular because it is a high quality latex dental examination gloves with a positive grip and comfortable fit and feel. And as a powder free glove, Micro-Touch DentaGlove ensures greater patient satisfaction and fewer undesirable reactions such as occlusion of retentive surfaces, induced peritonitis in the oral cavity and contamination of etched surfaces.

I’ve heard that the Gammex gloves are the best surgical gloves, do they come in a latex-free version?

Ansell’s GAMMEX® range is a popular choice among surgeons because it offers optimal protection and superior tactile sensitivity without sacrificing comfort. Made from DPG-free polyisoprene, GAMMEX® latex-free surgical gloves offer superior allergy prevention and latex-like comfort for healthcare workers suffering from latex allergies and Type IV allergies caused by DPG.
Latex-free GAMMEX surgical gloves include:

Ansell’s latex-free and accelerator-free neoprene option, GAMMEX® PF DermaPrene® , offers extra protection to healthcare workers who have type IV allergies to chemical accelerators.

Do Ansell’s pink gloves contain latex?

Ansell’s pink gloves are called Micro-Touch® NitraFree® . These examination gloves do not contain latex or chemical accelerators, making it them the ideal choice for people who suffer from Type IV irritant contact dermatitis (chemical allergy) or a type I latex allergy.

How can you tell if a surgical glove or an examination glove has latex in it?

All of Ansell’s natural rubber latex products feature a warning on the box .

Click here to view Ansell’s range of latex-free examination gloves .
Click here to view Ansell’s range of latex-free surgical gloves .