Educating healthcare workers to report symptoms related to wearing latex
gloves is as important as conventional health checks in reducing the risk of
latex allergy, according to researchers.
The study, published in the journal of Occupational and Environmental
Medicine, was undertaken among workers at Southampton University Hospitals NHS
Trust, by means of a self-administered questionnaire, skin-prick testing and
measurement of scientific IgE to latex.
The authors conclude that the study does not justify the exclusion of
potential employees via pre-employment assessment on grounds of a risk of latex
allergy or intensive health surveillance of staff who use latex gloves. Instead
they suggest a more focused and educative approach.
"The aim should be to detect the few workers with more severe or
deteriorating symptoms at an early stage so that they can be investigated more
Prevalence and risk factors for latex allergy: a cross sectional study in a
UK hospital, Occupational and Environmental Medicine 56, pp833-836