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What to expect after latex allergy in health care?

Posted Jan 06 2010 10:28am

Although their quality of life gets much better after removal of latex exposure, nearly half had to change jobs….

In this study 29 HCW with a type 1 allergy to latex participated in follow-up research. All individuals reported a significant improvement of symptoms once latex was removed from their working environment.

Of those that reported skin complaints, 83% reported that their skin no longer had an impact on their quality of life (QOL) once latex was removed. Over 90% (n = 26) of all participants stated that their eye/nose symptoms had no longer an impact on their QOL and 86% (n = 25) of all participants stated that their respiratory symptoms had no impact on their QOL following the removal of latex from their working environment.

Overall, 45% of the respondents had changed jobs: 61% of this group changed to a completely nonclinical post.

Quality of life in health care workers with latex allergy
Power, S., Gallagher, J., Meaney, S.
Occupational Medicine 2010 60(1):62-65; doi:10.1093/occmed/kqp156

Background: Exposure to latex gloves and glove powder makes health care workers (HCWs) particularly susceptible to developing an allergy to latex.

Aims:  To assess the impact on the quality of life (QOL) of HCWs who are allergic to latex products before removal from latex exposure and after removal from exposure.

Methods:  We studied 39 latex allergic HCWs from the Health & Safety Executive south area. Twenty-nine attended for an assessment with the occupational physician and were asked to fill out a questionnaire. Spirometry, immunoglobulin E levels and latex radioallergosorbent test levels were measured.

Results: In total, 29/39 (74%) of patients responded. All of the participants had a type 1 allergy to latex. All individuals reported a significant improvement of symptoms once latex was removed from their working environment. Of those that reported skin complaints, 83% reported that their skin no longer had an impact on their QOL once latex was removed. Over 90% (n = 26) of all participants stated that their eye/nose symptoms had no longer an impact on their QOL and 86% (n = 25) of all participants stated that their respiratory symptoms had no impact on their QOL following the removal of latex from their working environment. Overall, 45% of the respondents had changed jobs: 61% of this group changed to a completely nonclinical post.

Conclusions: On average, 86% of latex allergic HCWs reported that their QOL had improved significantly since their removal from latex. In employees who are latex allergic/sensitized, taking latex avoidance measures results in cessation or diminution of symptoms.

Posted in Allergies, Chemical agents Tagged: Allergy, HCWs, Latex
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