Updating latex

The increased numbers of latex-allergic individuals have prompted the establishment of guidelines for patient care, such as those developed by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology ("Interim Recommendations to Health Professionals & Organizations Regarding Latex Allergy Precautions," March 1992).Frequent users of latex products may develop allergies to latex proteins, with resulting allergic reactions varying from mild to life-threatening.Although latex is most often associated with disposable gloves, other items which may contain latex include airways, intravenous tubing, syringes, stethoscopes, catheters, dressings and bandages.The reporting of allergic reactions to latex has dramatically increased in the past six years.The authors, the Canadian Healthcare Association and the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology are not responsible for their application, or for facilities' decisions in the use of medical products.Back to Top Natural rubber latex, commonly referred to as latex, is a common component of many medical supplies used in the hospital environment.Clinically at the outset, there may be an acute eczematous dermatitis on the dorsum of the hands often with vesicle formation.The lesions typically appear 48-96 hours after exposure.

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These latter reactions are almost invariably due to immediate allergic sensitization to latex proteins themselves.

Thiurams and carbamates are commonly implicated agents, but ACD can potentially occur to any latex chemical additive (Conde-Salazar et al., 1993).

Contact dermatitis may be involved in latex sensitization.

This document provides guidelines for management of individuals that are working with or exposed to latex in the health care facility environment.

These guidelines were developed with the cooperation of several organizations and individuals in both Canada and the United States (see Appendix 1).

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