Zahariev Vukinić K, Kneević B, Bogadi-are A, Buba M, Krito D, Pejnović N.
Acta Dermatovenerol Croat. 2012 OKTOBER;20(3):207-209.
INTRODUCTION Latex is a stretchy material used in hundreds of items that come in direct contact with the body. Condoms, bras, surgical gloves, toys and radial tire dust particles are some of the most common places where latex is found. Because latex is used in so many products today, there are increasing reports of latex sensitivity (1,2). Allergy to latex comes in two different forms. One form is called "delayed hypersensitivity" (type IV allergic reaction), which is usually seen as a skin rash at the site where the latex product contacts the skin. This rash can be quite severe. A more dangerous form of latex allergy is "immediate reaction" (type I allergic reaction) to latex. It is also related to rhinoconjunctivitis, asthma, angioedema and anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can result in a seriously low blood pressure, breathing difficulty, and even death. Continued exposure puts individuals with type IV allergy at a risk of developing the antibodies that trigger type I latex allergy (2). Natural rubber latex allergy affects people who are frequently exposed to products made of natural rubber latex in occupational and everyday settings (3-5). The prevalence of latex sensitization in general population ranges between 5% and 10%. According to Ruëff et al. (6), positive skin tests to latex were noted in 9.5% of 325 adult hospital inpatients waiting for surgical or urological procedures. Ownby et al. (7) found elevated levels of latex specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in 6.5% of 1000 volunteer blood donors. Allergy to natural rubber latex is an important cause of occupational allergy in health care workers (8-12). Frequent hand washing and disinfection are inevitable strain on the skin. Since the infections associated with health care represent a major problem worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued Guidelines for Hand Hygiene in Health Care Institutions (13). In Croatia, the national guidelines for hand hygiene have been developed on the basis of these WHO guidelines (14). They describe in detail the techniques of hand hygiene. All these guidelines need to be followed, and applying the hand hygiene principles, health care workers damage the protective layer of their skin (15). Powder in gloves is also a potential irritant. Research has shown that the powder in gloves causes irritant dermatitis. Through damaged skin, allergens can enter and cause allergic clinical picture (16-17). This is also the reason why health care workers are at a higher risk to get latex allergy than general population. Many studies demonstrated an increased prevalence of latex sensitization in health care workers, which ranged from 9% to 12% (1,10,18,19). Data from the Register of Occupational Diseases of the Croatian Institute for Health and Safety at Work show that skin diseases accounted for 2.6% to 8% of the total number of recognized occupational diseases in the 2008-2011 period. In this period, only one case of allergic contact dermatitis to latex was recognized. The patient was working as a nurse and she got nearly fatal allergy to latex (20).
PMID: 23069310 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]