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NIOSH fast facts: home healthcare workers - how to prevent latex allergies.

Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2012-119, 2012 Feb; :1-2
Latex products are made from natural rubber, and sensitivity can develop after repeated exposure. Limiting exposure to latex can help prevent allergic reactions for both home healthcare workers and their clients. Three types of reactions can occur when using latex products: 1) Irritant Contact Dermatitis This is the most common negative reaction to latex. Symptoms include dry, itchy, irritated skin - most often on the hands. 2) Allergic Contact Dermatitis (delayed hypersensitivity) This skin reaction looks like the rash from contact with poison ivy and usually shows up 24-96 hours after contact. 3) Latex Allergy (immediate hypersensitivity) This type of reaction usually happens within minutes of exposure, but symptoms can also show up a few hours later. Symptoms of a mild reaction are skin redness, hives, or itching. Symptoms of more serious reactions might include runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, wheezing, coughing, or difficulty with breathing. Rarely, shock may occur, but a life-threatening reaction is seldom the first sign of sensitivity. A latex-exposed worker developing any serious allergic reactions should be taken to a doctor immediately. This document is also available in Chinese: <a href=""target="_blank"></a> and Polish: <a href=""target="_blank"></a>
Health-care; Medical-care; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Medical-equipment; Health-care-personnel; Gloves; Allergens; Allergic-dermatitis; Allergic-disorders; Allergic-reactions; Allergies; Skin-exposure; Skin-irritants; Skin-protection; Skin-sensitivity; Dermatitis; Nurses; Medical-personnel; Hypersensitivity; Emergency-treatment; Medical-treatment; Clinical-symptoms
Publication Date
Document Type
Numbered Publication
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2012-119; B02292012
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Healthcare and Social Assistance
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division