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Type: Journal article
Title: Latex allergy in the prehospital setting
Author: Bridgewater, F.
Zeitz, K.
Katelaris, P.
Field, J.
Citation: Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 2006; 21(5):322-328
Publisher: J E M S Communications
Issue Date: 2006
ISSN: 1049-023X
Statement of
Franklin H.G. Bridgewater, Kathryn Zeitz, Constance Katelaris and John Field
Abstract: <h4>Introduction</h4>Latex allergy first was recognized early in the 20th Century, but was not a matter of concern until the last decade of that Century. The reported incidence of latex allergy in different occupations varies considerably. It has been documented in dental workers, operating theater staff, anesthetists, and laboratory technicians. However, little data specifically related to those involved in patient care in the emergency prehospital setting are available.<h4>Methods</h4>A questionnaire was distributed to a sample of both volunteer and salaried first responders from St. John Ambulance Australia in South Australia and Western Australia, and the South Australian Ambulance Service. The first responders were surveyed to: (1) determine the incidence of latex allergy; (2) consider possible factors associated with its development; (3) compare characteristics of the surveyed groups; and (4) reinforce the development of an educational program. The study tool had predetermined statistical qualities. Data were collated and processed using standard statistical procedures. Surveys were collected anonymously.<h4>Results</h4>Of the 2,716 forms distributed, 1,099 were returned, resulting in an overall response rate of 40.5%. Atopy was identified in 14.9% of participants, hand dermatitis in 9.4%, and latex allergy in 6.4%. In the group of full-time ambulance officers, there was a significantly higher incidence of hand dermatitis and latex allergy. There also was a significant relationship between latex allergies and both dermatitis and glove usage (as measured by frequency and duration).<h4>Conclusion</h4>In a group of first responders assessed by an anonymous, voluntary questionnaire, the subset of full-time, salaried ambulance officers was identified as having a higher incidence of hand dermatitis and latex allergy than their volunteer co-workers. These results require further assessment to substantiate the frequency of latex allergy and determine the predisposing factors. All personnel must learn about hand care. Non-powdered, natural rubber latex gloves should be supported for general use in this setting.
Keywords: Humans
Latex Hypersensitivity
Occupational Exposure
Middle Aged
Emergency Medical Services
South Australia
Western Australia
Surveys and Questionnaires
DOI: 10.1017/S1049023X00003952
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