As a growing number products are made from latex, latex allergies have become more prevalent, according to the Medscape. Consequently, many industries where latex products like disposable gloves are common, such as the health care industry, have made it their mission to create latex-free environments.
Fayne Frey, a dermatologist from West Nyack, New York, told the Tribune she does not permit latex in her office because of the increased prevalence of the allergy, which she has herself. Additionally, she noted the human body increasingly reacts to latex as an allergen the more it comes in contact with the material, putting health care professionals, salon workers and people who have had multiple surgeries at higher risk for reactions. There are two types of latex allergy: dermatitis and anaphylaxis. The former includes skin irritation. The latter can be life threatening and include a weak pulse and fainting. Repeated latex exposure can escalate a reaction from dermatitis to anaphylaxis.
There are is no cure for a latex allergy, and those who have it must simply avoid the material. For this reason, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends latex-free nitrile or polyvinyl chloride disposable gloves when appropriate as a viable substitute to latex products. Given many people don’t discover they have a latex allergy until their first reaction, end users should consider going with one of the aforementioned alternatives, when possible, to protect themselves and consumers.