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J Contemp Dent Pract. 2006 Feb 15;7(1):97-106.

Adverse reactions to latex products: preventive and therapeutic strategies.

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Division of Oral Medicine, Department of Dental Diagnostic Science, The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio Dental School, San Antonio, Texas, USA.


Evidence-based infection control/exposure control practices are evolutionary in nature. Elements of historical note were first recorded with the suggestions of Lister for guidelines on aseptic procedures. Others, like Semmelweis, promoted the practice of hand washing by medical students and physicians prior to leaving autopsy suites and before entering the labor and delivery areas of hospitals. Halstead is credited with being the first to use surgical gloves in a clinical setting. While the use of latex surgical gloves became routine by the end of World War I, it wasn't until the adoption of universal precautions by the Centers for Disease Control in 1987 that the use of gloves was officially expanded to cover virtually all aspects of patient care. The ubiquitous use of latex gloves and other latex products in healthcare has resulted in a parallel increase in latex-associated adverse reactions. To provide for a safe environment for both oral healthcare providers and patients alike, clinicians must understand the basis for latex-related adverse reactions, recognize associated signs and symptoms, and initiate appropriate preventive and therapeutic strategies. The recommendations for preventing/minimizing latex allergy in the oral healthcare setting are based on current knowledge and a common sense approach to the problem. Evolving manufacturing technology and improvements in measurement methods (for latex proteins) may lead to changes in these recommendations in the future.

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