Preventing Latex Allergy

If you work in healthcare, you can’t avoid latex completely. But you can limit your exposure to it. This may help make you less likely to develop an allergy to latex.

Avoid powdered gloves

Latex gloves are often coated with a fine powder that helps keep them from sticking together. However, this powder carries the latex proteins into the air, where they can be inhaled. Powder-free gloves help stop the spread of latex proteins into the air, and may decrease your risk for developing a latex allergy. Your employer should provide powder-free, low-protein latex gloves.

Choose gloves carefully

  • If appropriate nonlatex gloves are available, choose these.

  • Choose heavy-duty housekeeping gloves instead of latex surgical gloves for housekeeping tasks.

  • Don’t wear gloves at all if you don’t need them. For instance, taking a patient’s blood pressure or pulse usually doesn’t require gloves. But be sure the equipment itself doesn't not contain latex.

  • Choose plastic or other nonlatex gloves if gloves are needed for food preparation.

Use latex gloves correctly

  • Wash your hands and dry them well before putting on gloves and after removing them.

  • Don't use oil-based hand creams or lotions. They can break down the latex and make the proteins more likely to stick to your hands.

  • Don't snap your gloves when putting them on or taking them off.