A Latex-Free Office Is Possible: Eliminate Allergens in Your Office
As the healthcare industry has improved, so has our sanitation and protection against germs, diseases, and bacteria. The use of gloves, procedure masks and scrubs all contribute to the health and safety of our patients and ourselves. As hard as we try to protect patients, there are some problems that are more formidable, like allergies. Since the causes of allergies are so varied, it’s tough to accommodate them all. But working in healthcare involves adjusting for these abnormal conditions, even if it’s inconvenient. Recently, progress has been made to account for all allergies, especially with latex.
Although latex allergies are not as common as other allergies, it is still estimated that somewhere between eight to seventeen percent of the population is susceptible. While that may seem small, it equates to one of every fourteen people. Which means it’s possible that you treat latex-allergic patients every daily!
This number of latex allergies is even higher in healthcare professionals. Unlike most allergies that are from birth, a latex allergy can develop later in life. The more exposure you have to latex, the more likely you are to develop an allergic reaction.
Working in the healthcare industry, this is an understandable concern for you and your patients. SmileMakers understands your concerns and will help explain how to handle the allergens in latex, along the changes we’ve made to our products to ensure that they are allergen and latex free!
How latex allergies develop
Latex allergies develop when the body assumes the material to be a harmful substance, provoking the immune system and causing it to flare up. Certain proteins in the latex are considered allergens and cause the body to respond aggressively. Upon exposure to the skin, the symptoms of the allergy can begin within minutes.
Along with physical contact causing an allergic reaction, the allergens in latex can also become airborne. Latex allergens can be inhaled without direct contact and cause a reaction similar to an asthmatic attack. All types of latex allergies must be taken seriously, as they can have greater implications and normally indicate a propensity for other allergies.
Symptoms of a latex allergy
Latex allergies symptoms usually become visible where the skin has made contact with the material. All skin-based symptoms are some variance of dermatitis including:
- Itchy hands
- Red & hot rashes
When the allergen is inhaled, the symptoms manifest as an irritation in the lungs, throat and sinuses, including:
- Swollen throat, lips or tongue
- Stuffy, blocked sinuses
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat
At its most severe, exposure to latex can cause anaphylaxis. Not only is this potentially fatal, but it is also a rapid reaction. Anaphylactic shock is accompanied by drop in blood pressure and breathing problems, along with the other symptoms of a latex allergy.
Allergen solutions and alternatives
Already, great strides are being made to create latex-free alternatives to popular products. Gloves, rubber bands, and other common medical equipment are available in latex-free options. But there are commonly overlooked items found in practices that use latex and other allergy-inducing products. Here are a few items that you should consider prior to purchasing:
Bandages: Some bandages still use latex or have packaging that contains latex. As these are directly applied to the skin, bandages can cause severe rashes. Since these are given to children, the rash or itchiness can remain undiagnosed for a prolonged amount of time. At SmileMakers, we are transitioning all of the bandages that we offer to latex-free. With favorite characters and exciting visuals your young patients are sure to enjoy. Both you and the parents can rest easy knowing that there is no chance of developing a rash or hives.
Stickers: Although stickers inherently do not contain latex, they can contain other allergens or be processed in a plant that produces products that do contain allergens or latex, resulting in dangerous cross-contamination. Stickers are a favorite of health professionals and children alike; they pair fun, child-friendly images with affordability. With their popularity, no child should be denied such a fun reward. For this reason, SmileMakers stickers are now Manufacturer Certified Hypoallergenic and Latex Free! We’re taking the worry out of rewarding by ensuring that our manufacturers do not use products that contain latex or any of the major FDA approved food allergens, or produce our stickers in a facility where our stickers could come into contact with any of these allergens. And, best of all, we’re not increasing our prices to our customers. We are here to help you create smiles for all of your patients and feel no one should be left out.
Looking for more are allergen-free products for your office?
Visit SmileMakers.com for the most up-to-date listing of our allergen-free and latex-free products!
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