The importance of materials in preventing allergic reactions

Skin allergies/reactions among dental practice staff

Choosing the right PPE is of fundamental importance

Recent years have seen a significant increase in the number of cases of sensitivity, reactions and allergy to disposable Protective Equipment, especially among operators in the healthcare and dentistry sector.

Although anyone can develop an allergic reaction, people in constant contact with it form the category with the highest risk. Once someone has developed a sensitivity to latex, this can get progressively worse each time they come into contact with it.

Symptoms vary from itchy rashes to rhinitis, but in the most serious cases, latex can even cause anaphylactic shock.

As regards PPE, complications are associated above all with the use of gloves and masks, which come into close contact with the skin and the airways. In this regard, it’s important to remember that in the case of latex gloves, not all the products on the market have the same protein residue (allergens that cause a sensitivity to latex), and that masks must be latex free.

What is latex and why can it cause allergic reactions?

Latex is the base material of natural rubber products. It is extracted from the India rubber tree and takes the form of a milky liquid that essentially contains polyisoprene and water.

The base substance does not cause any health problems in itself. However, latex contains numerous proteins (allergens) that can cause complications and allergic reactions, ranging from simple sneezing to anaphylactic shock.

The reaction is triggered by contact with the protein, or in some cases, also after breathing in particles of latex that may be present in the air.

Euronda latex gloves are free from lubricating powders and have low protein residue: this significantly reduces the possibility of continual, daily use causing allergies.

For example, some latex gloves are covered all over inside by corn starch powder in order to make them easier to put on. Unfortunately, the particles of latex protein can attach to the starch and spread through the air when the gloves are removed.

Allergic reactions and sensitivity: the symptoms and how they present

Generally speaking, allergic reactions can produce a number of different symptoms, some of the most common of which are:

  • Eczema (dermatitis), localised or all over the body
  • Itchy rash
  • Rhinitis
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Bronchospasm

In the most serious cases, angioedema (swelling of the skin) and even anaphylactic shock can occur.

Reactions that occur when coming into contact with certain materials are often generally described as allergies, but this may not always be accurate. Symptoms caused by contact with certain materials may be divided into three different situations:

  • IgE mediated reaction: This is the only allergic reaction in which the immune system is involved. It is the most dangerous situation, similar to the reaction that occurs when subjects allergic to bee stings are stung. It is triggered by skin contact or by breathing in latex particles.
  • Allergic contact dermatitis, in which the reaction is triggered by allergens able to cause an inflammatory reaction that involves the immune system.
  • Irritative contact dermatitis: probably the most common form, triggered by contact with the material.

Focus: Contact dermatitis

These are the most common forms, and are inflammatory skin conditions caused by contact with latex.
Depending on the mechanisms through which the external agents cause the symptoms on the skin and the mucous membranes, contact dermatitis can be divided into irritative and allergic forms.

Irritative contact dermatitis
This is the most common reaction, accounting for about 80% of cases. The acute form presents with symptoms such as pain and/or a burning sensation; itching is less commonly reported. The skin reaction occurs locally, i.e. only where the skin comes into contact with the irritating agent. If ignored, irritative dermatitis can become chronic.

Allergic contact dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis accounts for 20% of cases, and is caused by allergens able to trigger an inflammatory reaction that involves the immune system in sensitised subjects, occurring 48-72 hours after exposure to the allergen.
The main symptom is itching; pain is generally a consequence of scratching and secondary infections. Skin lesions usually appear in the area that has come into contact with the allergen. Unlike irritative forms, however, these symptoms can later spread to other areas of the skin that have not apparently been exposed to the sensitising agent.

Euronda’s commitment: maximum protection, even for the most sensitive skin

Within the framework of occupational disease prevention, allergies are a serious problem that has a negative impact on the health and quality of life of operators and patients.

This is why Euronda has developed PPE able to prevent allergic reactions, with solutions compliant with the highest production standards and able to guarantee minimal protein residue or latex-free products.

PT4 Sensitive Masks
All Euronda Masks are free from latex, glass fibres and chemical substances, protecting the most sensitive skin and avoiding the risk of irritations, dermatitis and allergic reactions.

Protection 4 Sensitive Masks are ideal for those seeking maximum protection during operations and the safety provided by the very best hypo-allergenic materials, selected for even the most sensitive of skin. Sensitive Masks are made from hypo-allergenic cellulose.

They guarantee maximum protection from dust, bacteria, aerosols and fluids, and also boost comfort, thanks to the new Perfect Fit system, the elastic earloops welded on the outside and the long nosebridge for a snug fit.

Latex gloves
Also for latex products, Euronda guarantees maximum attention and protection for sensitive skin. Monoart latex gloves are made from latex and natural rubber, with low levels of protein residue (< 50 mg/g), in order to limit allergy risks and boost biocompatibility. In addition, Monoart latex gloves are free from lubricating powders, often the cause of respiratory problems due to the aerial diffusion of the allergens, and act as an excellent barrier against infections.

Read the article on choosing suitable gloves