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How big a risk is latex?

With latex allergies more common among healthcare professionals than the general population , many hospitals are choosing synthetic surgical gloves.

Healthcare professional wearing Biogel synthetic gloves

Latex allergies are a growing concern in the healthcare sector . In a recent market research study 93% of surgeons and nurses in Europe have a moderate or high concern with the risk of latex-allergic reaction from latex surgical gloves .

The risk percentage for healthcare professionals becoming sensitised to latex ranges from 8-17% . The most important factor that exacerbates a person’s likelihood of being sensitised to latex allergies is the degree of exposure to latex .

Even though the prevalence of latex allergy in the general population is low, less than 1%, there is still a risk that patients may be allergic to latex. Some studies show that up to 6% of the population can be latex sensitised   . The prevalence rate for latex sensitivity is 65% in patients with spina bifida .

The costs of latex allergies

Allergic sensitivity and reactions are a concern for hospitals, as they can reduce efficiency by causing:

  • Unforeseen surgical and postoperative complications
  • The need to tear down the entire operating room and replace with latex-free equipment
  • Lost working hours for healthcare professionals

To minimise healthcare professionals’ and patients’ risk for allergic reactions to latex, more and more healthcare facilities use only synthetic surgical gloves

How synthetic gloves can help

An increasing number of healthcare facilities are choosing to stock only synthetic gloves – reducing the risk for exposing latex-allergic individuals, removing the need for stocking two types of gloves and leading to greater efficiencies.

Synthetic surgical gloves can:

  • Prevent reactions or anaphylactic shock – for both patients and healthcare professionals
  • Prevent initial sensitisation of non-sensitised persons
  • Reduce unnecessary costs and suffering – postoperative complications, for instance
  • Standardised inventory with 100% latex-free equipment optimises storage facilities and removes the worry of potential allergies

References

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