Health care workers are at risk of developing latex allergy because they use latex gloves frequently. Latex allergy as a major occupational health problem.
It_is estimated that about 10 percent of medical workers are latex sensitive. Within hospitals, the concentration of latex allergens is often highest in operating rooms, where powdered latex gloves are frequently changed. When workers change gloves, the protein powder particles become airborne and can be inhaled. Anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, operating room and critical care nurses and surgeons are at high risk of developing hypersensitivity to latex
The most common reaction to latex products is the development of dry, itchy, irritated areas on the skin, usually the hands. More severe reactions may involve respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, and asthma
Replacing high-allergen gloves with powderless low-allergen gloves may reduce this problem. If you choose latex gloves, use powder-free gloves with reduced protein content.
Currently, many states prohibit the use of latex gloves in the food service industry, although none have gone as far as prohibiting the use of latex gloves in health care. However, some health care centers have implemented a nonlatex glove policy and even have converted to powder-free latex in order to decrease the risk of airborne allergens
Under the provisions of the ADA, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with medical-related disabilities such as latex allergy. Exactly what this involves will vary with each situation.