Working with Latex Allergy: Latex Allergies Shouldn’t Keep You from Doing Your Job
At the risk of stating the obvious, holding down a nine-to-five job is every bit a necessity for most people. Sure there are some people who have the luxury of being eternally wealthy due to a large inheritance. There are also those who have the good fortune of hitting it big due to one monumentally lucrative idea (here’s looking at you Mark Zuckerberg).
And there are those who rose up the ranks in a Fortune 500 company who tucked away a nest egg so large that they won’t have to work a single day after they’ve retired. But for the rest of the population, holding down a nine-to-five job is every bit a necessity as it is necessary for humans to breathe.
So even if a certain profession is dangerous or unglamorous some people have no choice but to suck it up and do the job because the pay check that comes afterward is their buffer from starving to death. But what if the profession a person is into is the main cause of his/her agony? What do you do now?
The reality behind Latex Allergy
Latex allergy is a real thing. Look it up in Google and you’ll discover that out of the 7.7 million people who are working in the healthcare industry 8 to 12% of that particular population suffer from latex allergy. Doctors, surgeons and nurses who suffer from latex allergies have it bad since they’re required to wear latex gloves whenever they’re treating their patients.
What’s worse is that even just a whiff of the powder that is often used in latex gloves can result in a severe allergic reaction for some people because that powder is already carrying microscopic particles of latex, which can still trigger a reaction. Allergic reactions to latex include Irritant Contact Dermatitis, which is dry and irritated skin that often occurs in your hands. This kind of allergy is still mild although the itchy sensation is enough to drive you wild.
Another result to latex allergy is called Allergic Contact Dermatitis, which occurs 24 to 96 hours after you’ve been exposed to the material. This reaction is much worse than the former because it’s akin to the rash that people get when they come into contact with poison ivy.
It’s also frustrating because it takes a long time before the symptoms occur, which could mislead you into thinking that perhaps you’re allergic to some other allergen that you came into contact with recently instead of pinpointing latex as the true culprit.
The third allergic reaction to latex is referred to as Immediate Hypersensitivity, which can result in hives, skin redness and/or itching. Symptoms may also occur hours after you’ve been exposed to the material and this reaction is much worse than the first two because according to experts some people could even have trouble breathing after being exposed to latex.
So if you’re in the same boat as healthcare professionals with latex allergy then it’s sort of a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation, because your allergic reaction to this material can be irritating and sometimes dangerous and there’s no way around it, until now.
How to avoid latex allergies
The best way to avoid any allergic reaction is to steer clear from allergens but if you’re a doctor, surgeon or nurse that’s easier said than done. What experts advise people with latex allergies is to wash their hands with mild soap and dry them completely after wearing the gloves. You can also ask your employer or your hospital for a reduced-protein, powder-free gloves, which are available nowadays.
The latex in surgical gloves often breaks down and seeps into your skin or merges with the air around you if you use oil-based creams and/or lotions in your latex gloves. So try to avoid using those moisturizers the next time you use latex gloves. If you’re not a healthcare professional and you’re not in constant contact with infectious materials ask your employer or company to provide you with gloves that are not latex if indeed you need gloves in your job.
Again, if you’re not a healthcare professional try your best to avoid areas where there might be microscopic particles of latex floating in the air because even if you just inhale this material it can trigger an allergic reaction. Avoidance is still the best way to stave off an allergic reaction to latex but if your profession makes it nearly impossible to do so then the best way is to find alternative materials to latex.
Despite the rising number of people developing allergies to latex research facilities from around the world are developing materials that are safe for people with sensitive skin. So don’t fret if you’re allergic to latex because there might be a solution for you just around the corner.