Assessment of adverse reactions to latex gloves use among nurses at Mankweng Hospital, Limpopo Province, South Africa
Adverse reaction to latex is a common problem among nurses and other health care workers. The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of adverse reactions to latex amongst nurses at Mankweng Hospital. A cross sectional study was carried out amongst 235 nurses at Mankweng Hospital using a self-administered questionnaire to collect information about history of allergic reaction, family history, signs and symptoms of adverse reactions after using latex gloves. Among 155 nurses who responded to the questionnaire (66% response rate), 41 (26%) had a family history of allergic reactions, with asthma as the commonest allergic condition reported. Fifty four respondents (n= 54, 35%) reported having had signs and symptoms of adverse reaction after using latex gloves. The most common features associated with adverse reaction to latex gloves were sneezing (n=32, 21%), itching nose (n=24, 16%), itching eyes (n=21, 14%), runny nose (n=18, 12%), cough (n=16, 11%), skin redness (n=13, 9%), hives (n=12, 8%), scratchy throat (n=9, 6%), light headedness (n=10, 7%) and swelling and rash in area(s) of contact (n=11, 7%). There was significant association between family history and occurrence of adverse reaction to latex gloves (p=0.029). Accordingly, this study concludes that adverse reaction to latex gloves is prevalent among nurses at Mankweng Hospital, and poses the potential for harmful effects to nurses. These effects may vary in severity from skin problems to anaphylactic shock. It is therefore important to educate nurses about the prevalence, presentation and prevention of adverse reaction to latex.
Keywords: Latex allergy, nurse, adverse reactions, contact dermatitis, universal precautions.
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