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Health and economic outcomes in latex allergic health care workers (HCWs) with clinical reactions associated with utilization of natural rubber latex (NRL) gloves.

Karnani-R; Murphy-K; Biagini-R; Bernstein-D
J Allergy Clin Immunol 2001 Feb; 107(2)(Suppl):S242-S243
The aim of this survey is to assess the long-term health and economic impacts of occupational latex disorders in affected HCWs. Twenty-four HCWs who were skin prick test positive to NRL allergens (mean age 40.3) were surveyed. All reported immediate-onset NRL glove reactions including: 9 with contact hives; 5 with rhinitis and hives; 2 with asthma symptoms and hives; and 8 with hives, rhinitis and asthma symptoms. In the latter group, 3 of 8 subjects experienced one episode of anaphylaxis requiring emergency care. Mean glove exposure was 5.7 yrs. (range: 0.08-20 yrs.) before onset of symptoms, and mean interval of symptoms prior to intervention was 1.3 yrs (range 0 mo. to 6 yrs). Employers implemented intervention in 23 HCWS; 1 worker continued to use NRL gloves and contact hives persisted. Nineteen switched to non-latex gloves; 2 changed to powder-free latex gloves. Two HCWs were moved to latex free areas. The mean interval since intervention was 5.4 yrs. (range: 0.17-12yrs). In all 23 HCWs, interventions resulted in resolution in glove related contact urticaria. Thirteen of 16 HCWs with any respiratory symptoms noted resolution or improvement in symptoms after intervention. Of 8 with asthma symptoms, 7 were classified as mild episodic; 1 required maintenance inhaled beclomethasone. Three HCWs with prior anaphylactic reactions had no recurrence after changing to non-NRL gloves. There was a mean reduction in annual income of 33% among 3 workers who were compelled to change jobs due to NRL hypersensitivity. Clinical outcomes in this group of NRL sensitized HCWs with work-related allergic reactions were generally favorable but incurred a deleterious economic outcome in a minority (13%) of workers.
Chemical-reactions; Gloves; Allergic-dermatitis; Allergic-reactions; Skin-exposure; Skin-irritants; Skin-sensitivity; Dermatitis; Respiratory-hypersensitivity; Respiratory-irritants
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Abstract; Conference/Symposia Proceedings
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NIOSH Division
Source Name
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division