Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Allergies To Rubber Affect 12.5 Percent Of Health Care Workers

Date:
March 18, 1998
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
One in 10 health care workers frequently exposed to rubber surgical and examination gloves is on the cusp of developing allergy symptoms that could seriously affect both their health and their careers, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

One in 10 health care workers frequently exposed to rubber surgical and examination gloves is on the cusp of developing allergy symptoms that could seriously affect both their health and their careers, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

Related Articles


Tests show that 2.5 percent of the group are already having allergic reactions to proteins from the gloves, but another 10 percent are "sensitized" to the proteins: they have special antibodies linked to allergies and specific for the rubber proteins, but no allergy symptoms yet.

"They have produced IgE antibodies, and when these antibodies re-encounter rubber proteins under the right circumstances, they can set off a potentially serious allergic reaction," says Robert G. Hamilton, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, who led what is believed to be the first definitive U.S. prevalence study of allergies to rubber proteins.

Hamilton presents his group's results, funded by the National Institutes of Health, on March 15 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Hamilton has been a leader in efforts to reduce hospital use of products containing rubber, sometimes called latex, for health care professionals and patients. He is concerned that the potentially life-threatening consequences of this allergy are still very underappreciated. Reactions can range from a localized skin rash or sneezing to respiratory distress or death.

"These reactions become progressively worse with repeated exposures, so it's important to identify both those who are sensitized and those who already have allergy symptoms," says Hamilton. "By stopping exposure, we should be able to stop the sensitized but asymptomatic group from developing symptoms."

Examination and surgical gloves are believed to be the main risk factors for health care workers, but other stretchable rubber objects, such as balloons or condoms, can cause a reaction. Rubber proteins from the gloves can be absorbed through direct skin contact. They also can attach to corn-starch donning powder inside the gloves and enter the body through inhalation when the gloves are pulled off and the powder becomes airborne.

Hamilton's group studied 168 Hopkins anesthesiologists, first identifying those already allergic with "real life" exposure: wearing a glove and inhaling the powder after removal. Two-and-a-half percent had clinical symptoms.

He also gave subjects a "skin-prick" test with a rubber extract and a blood test to see if IgE antibodies specific for rubber proteins were present.

Twelve-and-a-half percent were positive, meaning that a full 10 percent have become sensitized but are not symptomatic yet.

Performance data for the extract Hamilton used in the skin test, which his team developed, are undergoing review by the Food and Drug Administration. Approval for nationwide distribution is possible within a few months, which would make the extract the basis of the first characterized latex skin test reagent in the United States.

A task force to study use of the gloves and other products containing rubber at Hopkins has led to the use of alternative gloves made from vinyl and nitrile.

Co-authors on the study were Robert Brown, M.D., and James Schauble, M.D.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Allergies To Rubber Affect 12.5 Percent Of Health Care Workers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980318075802.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (1998, March 18). Allergies To Rubber Affect 12.5 Percent Of Health Care Workers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980318075802.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Allergies To Rubber Affect 12.5 Percent Of Health Care Workers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980318075802.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) Taiwan culls over a million poultry in efforts to halt various strains of avian flu. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Media Criticizing Parents For Not Vaccinating Children

Media Criticizing Parents For Not Vaccinating Children

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) As the Disneyland measles outbreak continues to spread, the media says parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are part of the cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) A Texas woman who lost more than five pounds of flesh to a shark in the Bahamas earlier this month could be released from a Florida hospital soon. Experts believe she was bitten by a bull shark while snorkeling. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shoveling Snow: How to Prevent Back Injuries

Shoveling Snow: How to Prevent Back Injuries

Washington Post (Jan. 26, 2015) What&apos;s the proper technique for shoveling snow? A physical therapist offers specific tips for protecting your back while you dig out this winter. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins