Helpful tips for reducing your risk of injury at work.
Latex products are made from natural rubber, and sensitivity can develop after repeated exposure. Limiting exposure to latex can help prevent allergic reactions for both home health care workers and their clients.
Latex Exposure Reactions
Three types of reactions can occur when using latex products:
- Irritant contact dermatitis—This is the most common negative reaction to latex. Symptoms include dry,itchy, irritated skin, most often on the hands.
- Allergic contact dermatitis (delayed hypersensitivity)—The skin reaction looks like the rash from contact with poison ivy and usually shows up 24 to 96 hours after contact.
- Latex allergy (immediate hypersensitivity)—This type of reaction usually happens within minutes of exposure, but symptoms can also show up a few hours later. Symptoms of a mild reaction are skin redness, hives or itching.
Protect Yourself From Latex
The amount of latex exposure needed to cause an allergic reaction is unknown, but increased exposure to latex does increase your risk of developing symptoms.
Follow these guidelines to limit your exposure and your chance of developing a latex allergy:
- Use non-latex gloves for activities not likely to involve contact with infectious materials.
- Request gloves that do not contain latex but still offer protection against infectious materials.
- Ask for reduced-protein, powder free gloves if your employer supplies latex gloves.
- Avoid oil-based creams or lotions when using latex gloves.
- Wash your hands and dry them completely after using latex gloves.
- Avoid direct contact with latex gloves if you develop symptoms of latex allergy.
Working With a Latex Allergy
If you are diagnosed with a latex allergy, you can still work safely:
- Avoid touching, using or being near latex-containing products.
- Avoid areas where latex is likely to be inhaled.
- Inform your employer and your personal health care professionals that you have a latex allergy.
- Wear a medical alert bracelet.
- Follow your doctor’s latex recommendations.
- Before receiving any shots be sure the person giving it uses a latex-free vial stopper.
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Source: Assisted Living | Gardenia Care
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article(s) are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of An Enchanted Assisted Living LLC. This flyer is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or legal advice.