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EXPLANATION OF ALLERGY

There is no cure for latex Type I allergies. While it is a good idea to move to a latex-free environment to eliminate the risk of adverse reactions and minimize sensitivity, there has been an increasing number of reported cases of workers developing type IV chemical allergies after making the switch. It is important to understand the difference between the causes and symptoms of latex and chemical allergies so that you can make the right decision for you.

In general, an allergy is an increased sensitivity to a foreign substance (called an allergen) that causes the defense system (immune system) to overreact when defending itself. Normally, the immune system should only react if a harmful substance, such as bacteria, attacks the body. For people with allergies, immune systems work overtime and react even when relatively harmless substances, such as chemicals in gloves, are present. The severity of an allergic reaction can vary from mild discomfort to life-threatening situations such as anaphylactic shock.

A reaction to allergens can represent irritation or sensitization.

LATEX TYPE I ALLERGY:

Type I latex is a reaction to protein residues found in natural rubber latex. The reaction is immediate, typically occurring 5-30 minutes after initial contact.

Symptoms: Symptoms can vary from mild to life-threatening

Mild symptoms: Swelling and redness usually local at the site of exposure, non-specific symptoms include itching and burning

Intermediate symptoms: Conjunctivitis, rhinitis

Severe symptoms: Anaphylactic shock

CHEMICAL ALLERGY TYPE IV: CONTACT DERMATITIS

Chemical type IV allergies are a reaction to specific allergens such as chemical residues from the glove making process (commonly known as chemical accelerators). 30% of healthcare workers experience skin reactions related to chemical allergies or sensitivities (1,2,3) and is the second largest occupational injury reported by OSHA. It usually occurs 6-48 hours after initial contact, although symptoms can last up to 4 days.

Symptoms: Symptoms are different and can vary from moderate to skin reactions that can significantly affect the health of employees in their work.

Some of the symptoms: Redness, swelling, cracking, itching, weeping, dryness

 

Recommendation:

Reduce the risk of allergies by using gloves without foreign substances .

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