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February 11, 2014
If you have been a patient here at Fox Valley Dental Care for a while, you may have noticed that recently we have been wearing these strange, very blue, exam gloves. And while they may look like something that we would be wearing if we were cleaning the kitchen sink, I can assure you there is a reason for our odd choice of hand wear.

Did you know that 1% of the population is allergic to latex? Latex is derived from the milky sap of the rubber tree and used extensively in the production of medical and dental products including examination gloves. Up to 15% healthcare workers are or become allergic to latex. There are three types of latex allergies that vary in terms of severity.

The most serious reaction is called an IgE mediated Type 1 reaction. This systemic reaction can cause hives, angioedema (swelling), rhinitis (inflammation of the tissues inside the nose), asthma, and/or the potentially life threatening anaphylaxis. Prompt medical treatment is essential.

The second and non-life threatening allergic reaction would be a cell mediated Type IV contact dermatitis. This is usually limited to where the skin contact occurred and can result in skin irritation, redness, blistering, and rash.

The last reaction that we see is not a true allergy but an irritant dermatitis. Constant washing of the hands, gloves on and off... your hands can get irritated, dry, and itchy. Annoying but no big deal.

In the past, when a patient with a known latex allergy would come in, we would switch to non-latex gloves. But what of the patient with an allergy that has yet to be diagnosed or recognized as such? We want to protect everyone, not just those who know about their condition, thus we have switched to using non-latex gloves exclusively.

So at your next appointment, if you see us wearing our “new blues” its not because we were just cleaning the bathroom. Its because we want to create the safest dental work environment for everyone that we can.

If any of you has a suggestion, comment, question, or an idea about a topic that you would like me to address on our blog, please don’t hesitate to contact me: Until next time...

Posted by FVDC Office on February 11, 2014 at 3:39 PM

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