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LATEX ALLERGY

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					LATEX ALLERGY
             OBJECTIVES
At the conclusion of the Self-Learning
Packet, the learner will be able to:

1. Define Latex Allergy.
2. Identify individuals at risk for Latex Allergy.
3. Summarize the incidence and pathophysiology
   of Latex Allergy.
4. List the signs of Latex Allergy.
5. Identify items that contain latex vs. latex free
   items.
6. State practical steps to take in providing care to
   latex sensitive patients.
7. Identify signs and symptoms of potential latex
   sensitivity in the health care worker.
8. State the steps in reporting and evaluating
   health problems associated with latex use.
       LATEX ALLERGY
        THE PROBLEM
• An estimated 8% to 17% of health care
  workers are allergic to latex.
• Anaphylactic reactions to latex can be fatal.
• Health care worker exposure to latex has
  increased dramatically since the institution of
  Standard (Universal) Precautions.
• Due to the increased demand for gloves,
  inexperienced manufacturers are now
  producing latex gloves that contain varying
  amounts of latex protein,
       LATEX ALLERGY
         DEFINITION
• Latex Allergy is a reaction caused by extreme
  sensitivity to latex rubber.
• Latex is a natural elastic product that comes
  from the Brazilian rubber tree.
• Latex is used in many products in healthcare
  and home.
• Latex is harmless for most people, but for
  others it can cause problems ranging from
  mild skin reactions to life-threatening
  problems.
• Manufacturers add
  chemicals and
  preservatives in the
  process of making
  latex gloves.
    LATEX ALLERGY
   HOW DO REACTIONS
        OCCUR?
• Latex Allergy begins when your immune system
   mistakes the proteins in latex for a harmful
   invader.
• Latex proteins enter the body through
  skin, mucous membranes, intravascularly, or by
   inhalation.
• Cornstarch powder which is
  used in gloves is a carrier of the
  protein. Because proteins can be
  airborne for hours after putting
   on or removing gloves, this
   allergen can be inhaled or settle
   on clothing, skin or mucous
   membranes.
• Your immune system responds by
   building up latex fighting antibodies.
  These antibodies produce chemicals which cause
   allergy symptoms.
LATEX IS EVERYWHERE
• HEALTH-CARE (Hospitals, Dental Offices, etc.)
  - Gloves (Main cause of allergy in hospital)
  - Catheters
  - Blood Pressure Cuffs/Stethoscopes
  - Tourniquets
  - Injection Ports/ Rubber Tops on Vials
  - Masks
  - Keofeed Tubes
  - Bandages
• HOME
  - Gloves
  - Balloons
  - Carpet Backing
  - Condoms and Diaphragms
  - Rubber Bands
  - Beach Toys/Rafts
  - Handgrips on Rackets and Tools
         LATEX ALLERGY
          WHO’S AT RISK
Anyone routinely exposed to latex is at risk.
Patients whose care requires regular exposure to
  latex
  - Spina Bifida
  - Chronic Urinary/Renal Problems
• Health-Care Workers
  - Doctors/Nurses
  - Dentists/Hygienists
  - Laboratory Personnel
  - Any individual who wears latex gloves routinely.
• People who work with latex
  - Work in latex plants
  - Make latex gloves
• People with history of
  allergies to avocados,
  bananas and eczema
  LATEX ALLERGY
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS?
• MILD REACTION
 - Redness where contact with
   latex has occurred
 - Skin rash
 - Hives
 - Swelling of face and hands
 - Runny nose
 - Itchy nose/watery eyes

• ANAPHYLACTIC REACTION
 - Wheezing
 - Decrease in Blood Pressure
 - Increased Heart Rate
 - Flushed face
 - Swelling of the throat
     LATEX ALLERGY
      MAKING THE
       DIAGNOSIS
• PAST REACTIONS TO LATEX
 - Allergic symptoms after coming into contact
   with latex

• HISTORY OF ALLERGIES
 - History of multiple allergies
 - History of eczema
 - History of food allergies to kiwis/bananas

• BLOOD TEST
 - RAST immunoassay (radioallergosorbent
   testing) measures the serum level of latex-
   specific IgE.
    DO YOU HAVE A
 PROBLEM WITH LATEX?
IF YOU NOTICE:
• Skin irritation with glove use
• Hives related to latex gloves
• Sinus congestion and wheezing
  associated with the use of latex gloves




  NOTIFY YOUR MANAGER!
The manager will:
• Have you complete an Employee Medical
  Referral Form
• Refer you to Employee Health for
  Evaluation
   DO YOU HAVE A
PROBLEM WITH LATEX?
EMPLOYEE HEALTH WILL:
• Examine effected areas
• Take a focused clinical history
• Request completion of the “Latex
  Survey” form
• Test: IGE and RAST
   test for natural latex
   (blood)
• Request reasonable
  accommodations
  at the work site
• Communicate outcome to manager
       DO YOU HAVE A
    PROBLEM WITH LATEX?
WHEN RESULTS ARE AVAILABLE,
the employee will be:
• Notified of results
• Reasonably accommodated
• Educated regarding risks for latex reactions
• Educated to recognize signs and symptoms
  of allergic response
• Educated regarding ways to avoid latex at
  home and work.
IF THE RESULTS ARE POSITIVE:
• Advise follow-up with Allergist
• Manager will participate with
  Employee Health and the
  employee to provide
  reasonable accommodations
   LATEX ALLERGY
PROTECTING YOURSELF
• AVOID CONTACT WITH LATEX
 - Know GBMC’s policies regarding latex
 - Contact Employee Health
 - Avoid latex items and use non-latex alternatives
   such as silicone or vinyl
 - Wear a medic alert bracelet or tag
• LEARN WHAT HOUSEHOLD AND
  MEDICAL ITEMS CONTAIN LATEX
 - Use non-latex gloves
 - Use powderless gloves
• BE PREPARED FOR SEVERE
  REACTIONS
 - Carry Epinephrine Auto-Injector
   or quick-acting oral
   antihistamine at all times
      CARING FOR LATEX-
      SENSITIVE PATIENTS
• Screen patients for high risk and allergy
• Place in private room to limit exposure
• Remove all latex containing items from the room
  prior to admission
• If possible, have room cleaned by a person wearing
  non-latex gloves
• Place labels on patient room and chart to notify
  others of allergy
• Maintain a latex-safe environment
  - Vinyl gloves
  - Non-latex equipment
  - Latex-free pharmacy protocol for drug preparation
  - Place a cloth barrier between the skin and blood
    pressure cuff or use a non-latex cuff.
• Schedule procedures early
  in the day
        LATEX SAFE
       ENVIRONMENT
• A list of Latex Free Equipment is
  maintained on the GBMC Infoweb.
• Each clinical care unit has a Latex
  Free Starter Kit. Check with your unit
  manager for location.
• To order Latex Free Products send a
  Latex Free Order Sheet to General
  Stores.

				
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