Latex allergy as an occupational risk
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Type of Work75 pages
SubjectsLatex products -- Occupational exposure
Latex allergy in healthcare
Occupationally induced latex allergy
Latex allergy has become one of the buzzwords in healthcare in this final decade of this century. Occupational exposure to latex products coupled with the remaining risk factors of atopy, food allergy, neural defects and surgery, often place the healthcare worker at great jeopardy. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of latex sensitivity in a mid-Atlantic medical center. Using a cross-sectional design and an original questionnaire, a sample population of the employees of the medical center were surveyed to determine prevalence as well as factors placing the employees at risk. Significant findings included correlation between atopy and symptoms of latex sensitivity and between food allergy and symptoms of latex sensitivity. Approximately 90% of the employees sampled at this rural medical center possess at least one of the risk factors determined to be causative in the development of latex sensitivity. Of those identified as being at risk, only 3.2% reported a physician diagnosed latex allergy. However, 25.1% of the sample reported symptoms when handling latex products. Clearly, symptoms of latex sensitivity are found within this employee population which merits further investigation. Further study including biophysiological measures for those reporting latex allergy symptoms would be important to determine IgE mediated allergic response.