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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

John Hopkins University Goes Latex Glove Free

Written by Opal Tribble

While I was listening to the radio yesterday a local new reporter stated that Johns Hopkins University, America's first research university, announced that is latex glove free. Why did they remove the gloves? Hopkins surgeons stated they removed latex gloves because of the rare reactions that some people were having to the latex.

The way that latex was made changed In the 1990’s. According to Hopkins officials, this was when they noticed that people were having severe reactions. Latex is also known as rubber or natural latex. Latex comes from the rubber tree.

According to research, the main source of the allergic reaction is latex gloves; however, latex is used in other items like condoms, feminine products, and certain medical devices. The renowned pediatric neurosurgeon, Ben S.Carson, Sr. M.D., practices at Johns Hopkins. Interestingly, Hopkins was believed to be one of the first to use latex gloves for surgery and now they are one of the first hospitals to stop using them.

Who Is Affected By Latex Allergy?

Research has concluded that health care workers have a 5 to 10 percent chance of developing a latex allergy. The cause of the latex reaction is unknown, but repeated exposure to latex can cause reaction symptoms. I found that to be interesting. I’m a soapmaker, and I found, after continually using latex gloves, I developed a skin rash. Figuring that I had a reaction to the gloves, I had to switch to non latex gloves.

According to WebMD, there are others who might be at risk for latex allergies. I’ve included the information below.

What People Are At Risk For Latex Allergy?

1. People with a bone marrow defect
2. People with deformed bladder or urinary tract
3. People who have a history of multiple surgeries.
4. People allergic to bananas, avocados, kiwis, or chestnuts


How Are People Exposed?

1. Direct contact with the skin, such as when latex gloves are worn
2. Mucous Membranes such as the eyes, mouth, vagina, and rectum
3. Inhalation, Latex gloves contain a thin coating of powder that can be inhaled
4. Blood, some medical devices used during surgery contain latex


Immediate Reactions To Latex

Immediate allergic reactions can be manifested as cramps, hives, severe itching, and in severe cases rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, shortness of breath, tremors, and, in extreme cases, death. If you have an immediate allergic reaction to latex, contact your health care provider immediately.


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