Protecting Yourself From Latex Allergy at Work

Latex Allergy Precautions for Employees

Workers should take the following latex allergy precautions to protect themselves from latex exposure and allergy in the workplace:
  • Use nonlatex gloves for activities that are not likely to involve contact with infectious materials (such as food preparation, routine housekeeping, and maintenance activities).
  • If you choose latex gloves when handling infectious materials, use powder-free gloves with reduced protein content:
o Such gloves reduce exposures to latex protein and thus reduce the risk of latex allergy (though symptoms may still occur in some workers).
o So-called hypoallergenic latex gloves do not reduce the risk of latex allergy. However, they may reduce reactions to chemical additives in the latex (allergic contact dermatitis).
  • Use appropriate work practices to reduce the chance of reactions to latex:
o When wearing latex gloves, do not use oil-based hand creams or lotions (which can cause glove deterioration) unless they have been shown to reduce latex-related problems and maintain glove barrier protection.
o After removing latex gloves, wash hands with a mild soap and dry thoroughly.
o Use good housekeeping practices to remove latex-containing dust from the workplace.
o Frequently clean areas contaminated with latex dust (upholstery, carpets, ventilation ducts, etc).
o Frequently change ventilation filters and vacuum bags used in latex-contaminated areas.
  • Take advantage of all latex allergy education and training provided by your employer:
o Become familiar with procedures for preventing latex allergy.
o Learn to recognize the symptoms of latex allergy: skin rashes; hives; flushing; itching; nasal, eye, or sinus symptoms; asthma; and shock.
  • If you develop symptoms of latex allergy, avoid direct contact with latex gloves and other latex-containing products until you can see a physician experienced in treating latex allergy.
  • If you have latex allergy, consult your physician regarding the following precautions:
o Avoid contact with latex gloves and other latex-containing products.
o Avoid areas where you might inhale the powder from latex gloves worn by other workers.
o Tell your employer and your healthcare providers (physicians, nurses, dentists, etc.) that you have latex allergy.
o Wear a medical alert bracelet.
  •  Carefully follow your physician's instructions for dealing with allergic reactions to latex.
A Dose of Reassurance for Parents of Picky Eaters
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