To diminish the possibilities of diseases for patients and clinicians in all healthcare installations sterile protective gloves are used. It is specially been pivotal for operation theatres, where surgical site infection is a usual and severe issue for post-operative patients. It is conventionally been made of natural rubber latex and dusted with cornstarch powder. Though repeated utilization of these latex gloves may direct to hypersensitivity or allergy to latex.
A latex allergy may lead to discomfort and inconvenience, can diminish efficiency, levied serious financial burdens, and can also be life-threatening. There is not enough affirmation to prohibit the clinical use of latex; but in the cases of suspected latex allergies, guidelines are advocated for the utilization of either latex-free examination gloves or black latex-free gloves without the presence of powder. In cases of allergies, the utilization of these optional gloves has generally been finite, as they have earlier been linked with less dexterity and permanence than latex gloves.
Throughout the healthcare installation, patients and clinicians can come into contact with different microorganisms that might be the source of infection (Blizzard 2017). It is mainly been the case in operation theatres, where patients undertaking a surgery are especially vulnerable to surgical site infections (i.e., SSI). This can direct to poorer results and enhance complete morbidity and mortality in surgical patients.
SSIs are generally multifaced, however, their usual sources for example the probability of contamination at the time of surgery, are mostly stoppable. The surgical team is liable for getting rid of this perilous condition, and diminishing the occurrence of infections and allergic reactions among patients and health professionals will be the main moto throughout the healthcare installation (Blizzard, 2017).
- Natural rubber latex gloves.
For the prevention of SSIs, two key methods are surgical hand antisepsis and the use of personal protective equipment like sterile protective gloves. During the 1980s, the increase in blood-borne viruses like the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, direct to the introduction of universal precautions, that resulted in a huge increase in the use of protective gloves like latex-free examination gloves or black latex-free gloves in clinical settings (Blizzard, 2017; Wilson, 2019). Sterile protective gloves are a vindictive way to diminish the likelihood of SSIs by decreasing the possibility of microorganisms that can be inadvertently transferred from surgeons and surgical staff to the patient (Reichman, 2009).
It has been specially made from natural rubber latex. Latex is a natural protein that evolves from the juice of the rubber tree Castilla elastic and is used to make rubber surgical gloves. Latex had a better convenience over other materials used in gloves available at the time, due to its elasticity, permanence, tactile features, low cost, and the minimum ratio of microbial to fluid penetration. For the ease of donning, latex gloves are conventionally coated with absorbent dusting powder made from cornstarch.
- Latex allergy – Prevalence.
The major limiting factor of latex gloves is the probability for users to enhance hypersensitivity to the latex itself also known as latex allergy.
As the utilization of disposable powdered latex gloves exponentially increases after 1987, there is now the adequate validation that health professionals as an occupational group have a greater risk of latex allergy, with a prevalence rate of type 1 mediated reaction of 17%. Depending on the population and diagnostic method used – Internationally reported outbreaks might range between 2% and 22%.
- Impact and symptoms.
An allergic reaction from latex generally consequences in discomfort and can probably be life-threatening. It also has an increasing impact on the daily lives of those victims, for instance, the inability to eat food administered by workers wearing latex gloves.
Type 4 reaction is the most common type of latex allergy, presented as secondary contact dermatitis to cumulative exposure, which is usually seen hours or days after contact with the allergen. It is called cell-mediated reaction, often with a chemical addition to rubber, rather than the latex proteins themselves. Anaphylaxis is an uncommon though probable fatal kind 1 immunoglobulin E-mediated reaction that can also happen in individuals who have earlier been sensitized to latex proteins. In more usual conditions, it displays the cutaneous, ocular, respiratory, or systemic symptoms. It incorporates contact urticaria, pruritis in the skin and eyes, sneezing, bronchospasm, and asthma.
- Latex-free and low-protein latex gloves.
The prevention of latex allergy is linked with the utilization of sterile latex-free examination gloves has to steer the development of alternatives to protect both patients and healthcare providers (Mylon, 2014). It combines with powder-free / or low-protein latex gloves that are fully latex-free like the black latex-free gloves. The latex protein component of latex gloves decreased 10-fold between 1996 and 2003 as a result of improved manufacturing processes, as stated in 2007 at a Latex Allergy Conference at the Royal Free Hospital, London.
So, these are some of the case studies that prove the efficiency of latex-free gloves in the operational theatre. Hope that this entire matter will be fruitful for you to understand the importance of latex-free gloves.