An approach to managing latex allergy in the health care worker
IgE-mediated sensitivity (true allergy) to latex occurs in well-defined groups. The common feature is a high degree of repeated exposure to latex. Approximately one percent of the total U.S. population and five to 17 percent of health care workers are affected. The objective of this article is to provide a rational approach to managing latex allergy in health care workers. Information is provided on the basis of a review of recent literature (primarily since 1986) and on the basis of work by the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Multidisciplinary Latex Allergy Committee. This article summarizes a proactive, hospital-wide approach to effective management of latex allergy in health care workers. The approach incorporates recommendations from several review articles, including a position statement from the American College of Allergy Asthma, and Immunology and work done by the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Multidisciplinary Latex Allergy Committee. Health care administrators, allergists, dermatologists, and occupational health personnel must work together to develop guidelines and implement policies to curb rising latex sensitization rates in health care workers. Many situations can be managed through medical, personal, and household avoidance of latex antigen and through modifications to the work environment. This article also presents an algorithmic approach to care management strategies that enhances documentation and yields more accurate data about incidence and prevalence of latex hypersensitivity among health care professionals.
B. A. Muller, Victoria M. Steelman, P. G. Hartley, and T. B. Casale. "An approach to managing latex allergy in the health care worker" Journal of Environmental Health 61.1 (1998): 8.
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