Glove allergy: Causes and Prevention

Glove allergy is usually caused due to the latex gloves. Latex is the preferred material for manufacturing gloves, but increasing number of people are growing allergic to it. Latex is made from the rubber tree, and the proteins of rubber tree are responsible for causing an allergy. Switching to latex-free gloves is the best way to avoid the allergy. The allergy can result in skin rashes, itchiness, hives and blistering.

Sometimes, latex gloves are used along with cornstarch powder. This powder can be be airborne and can cause allergy. The latex proteins are airborne along with the cornstarch powder and this causes allergies. This can result in difficulty breathing, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. Hence, it is important to use powder-free gloves.

Healthcare workers and people working where latex gloves are used are at high risk of glove allergy.
In rare cases, vinyl gloves or nitrile gloves can also cause an allergy.

Symptoms of Glove Allergy:

  • Rashes
  • Itchiness
  • Hives
  • Redness
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing/Difficulty breathing

How to prevent Glove allergy?

  • Use latex-free gloves. If you are admitted to hospital, always inform the doctor that you are allergic to latex
  • Strictly avoid powdered gloves
  • Switch to synthetic gloves which are less likely to cause allergies
  • You can also use gloves with a lining to prevent allergies

Testing and Treatment:

Skin test can be carried out to check for glove allergy. The allergist would determine the material which is causing allergies. Once an allergy is determined, you would be suggested antihistamines and topical corticosteroids to treat the allergic reaction.

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