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NHS urged to switch latex gloves over asthma and allergy links


25 March, 2008  

The NHS has been urged to use a different type of latex glove following concerns over links to allergies and asthma.

The Royal College of Physicians and NHS Plus advised all hospitals to use powder-free, low protein latex gloves as an alternative to the traditional powdered latex sort.

It comes after a former trainee nurse won a six-figure compensation payout earlier this month when she was forced to give up her job due to a latex allergy.

Tanya Dodd, 25, developed the allergy, which can cause breathing problems and anaphylactic shock, while working at Scarborough General Hospital.

Ms Dodd said she had never been warned of the dangers of latex and was never told to minimise her exposure to it after she developed her allergy.

The guidelines said switching to powder-free gloves “significantly reduces latex allergy and latex-induced asthma” as they contain a tenth of the latex of powdered gloves.

Dr Syed Ahmed, a specialist registrar in occupational medicine at East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust and guideline leader, said: “The optimal management of latex allergy in the workplace has been unclear for a long time.

“We’re delighted that our work has looked comprehensively at all the research and has established evidence-based guidelines to address this important issue.”

Copyright © PA Business 2008

NHS Plus

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

“I agree. Many patients with leg ulcers develop allergies which may be due to latex contact from gloves during treatments.” – Anne Rooney, Co Monaghan, Ireland

“I think it is time to get rid of powdered gloves and stop the extra hassle of procuring non-powdered gloves.” – Vincent Gatt, Malta

“How ridiculous is this story that the NHS will switch to a different type of latex glove. In order to help prevent people like myself who suffer from type 1 latex allergy, causing anaphylaxis, the NHS should be totally eradicating latex gloves from all of their hospitals and premises. They are putting the health of both staff and patients alike at risk. Instead of changing to powder free gloves and significantly reducing latex allergy and latex-induced asthma as they contain a tenth of the latex of powdered gloves: change to totally latex-free gloves.” – Lesley Shannon, Scotland

Do you agree/disagree with these comments? Tell us what you think.

See also:

Payout for latex allergy trainee