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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 201-204

Latex glove allergy: The story behind the "invention" of the surgical glove and the emergence of latex allergy

1 Department of Plastic Surgery, Morriston Hospital, Swansea, United Kingdom
2 Department of Anaesthesia, Withybush General Hospital, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Anokha Oomman
8, Maple Avenue, Haverfordwest SA61 1EF, Pembrokeshire
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-9596.129563

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Latex rubber gloves have become increasingly common over the last 30 years. This has led to an increase in allergy to natural rubber latex (NRL) proteins in health care professionals using protective gloves and/or in those exposed to products made of NRL. This has led to a growing need to monitor the allergenicity of gloves and other latex goods to prevent sensitization and clinical allergy. There is still considerable amount of misinformation regarding latex allergy. In this article, we examine the history behind the "invention" of the surgical glove, the emergence of latex allergy and the diagnostic tests available and possible remedies. We searched PubMed and MedLine using key words such as Latex allergy, surgical gloves, rubber, immunoglobulin E proteins, radioallergosorbent test. Recent and old papers on the subject were reviewed and analyzed. Surgical gloves were a huge milestone in the field of surgery as it allowed the development in the field of asepsis. It was instrumental in reducing the rates of infection and making health care professionals think about aseptic techniques. However, the emergence of latex allergy over the last few decades has proved a challenge in the perioperative setting. Surgical gloves are important tools in performing safe surgery. However, the increasing incidence of latex allergy and its effects on theatre personnel is of great concern.

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