As a health science student, you are required to learn about latex allergies prior to starting class. Review the required information below. Once you understand latex allergies print the latex allergy education checklist. This form must be signed by the Kirkwood nurse and returned to your instructor.
Latex gloves have proven effective in preventing transmission of many infectious diseases; however, for some individuals, exposure to latex may result in an allergic reaction. If you have a concern that you may have a Latex allergy or you have an allergist diagnosed latex allergy, you will need to call Campus Health at 398-5588 to set up an appointment before attending your next clinical or lab. Kirkwood does not guarantee a latex-free lab or clinical environment.
What is latex allergy?
Some people are allergic to the protein in latex which is the substance that makes latex so elastic. Therefore, products which are stretchy, like balloons and gloves, are more likely to cause an allergic reaction than products which are solid, like car tires.
What causes latex allergy?
Some latex gloves used in hospitals are coated with powder to make them easier to put on and take off. When gloves are taken off, the powder (which contains particles of latex protein) stays in the air for a while afterwards. Therefore, some people do not need to come into direct contact with a latex product to have a reaction.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms vary from person to person. People with a latex allergy can develop symptoms immediately after being in contact with latex. However, some people have a delayed reaction which is more likely to be an itchy rash. These people are more likely to be allergic to other substances in rubber production rather than the latex itself.
The degree of allergic reaction varies from person to person. Some people may have a mild reaction to latex, which might include itchy eyes, sneezing or a runny nose, or an itchy rash, while other people may have a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. There is more information about anaphylaxis available in a separate leaflet.
How is it diagnosed?
A person is likely to be allergic to latex if they have a reaction occurring within half an hour of coming into contact with latex. Your doctor will probably confirm this using a skin prick test or a blood test which examines the number of antibodies in a small sample of blood.
How is it treated?
There is no current cure for latex allergy. If you suffer severe reactions to latex, that is, anaphylaxis, a doctor may recommend for you to always carry a pre-loaded adrenaline (epinephrine) syringe.
Kirkwood Latex Allergy Education
Latex Allergy: A Prevention Guide
Preventing Allergic Reactions to Natural Rubber Latex in the Workplace
Latex Allergy 101
Latex in the Hospital and Home
Latex Allergy Education Checklist
Instructor Consent Form
Latex Allergy Referral