Research Article
Volume 17 Issue 2 - 2021
Prevalence of Latex Allergy among Healthcare Workers at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: A Cross-sectional Study
Esrra Alharbi1*, Jumanah Azzouz1, Farah Awaleh1, Leena Abdulbadie1, Lina Kamas1, Maram Sait1, Rafal AlOrri1, Tasnim Garoub1 and Majdy Qutub2
1MBBS, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2Assistant Professor and Consultant, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
*Corresponding Author: Esrra Alharbi, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Received: January 08, 2021; Published: January 20, 2021


Background: Natural rubber latex is present in medical products, including gloves, bandages and catheters. The rates of latex allergy have increased in recent decades, making it an occupational health hazard among healthcare workers (HCWs). Few studies have described latex allergy in Saudi Arabia.

Objectives: This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of latex allergy among Saudi HCWs.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: King Abdulaziz University Hospital (KAUH).

Materials and Methods: HCWs from the main KAUH departments were included. A validated questionnaire adapted from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology guidelines for the management of latex allergy was used to assess symptoms.

Main Outcome Measures: The prevalence of latex allergy symptoms and that of associated allergic diseases.

Sample Size: A total of 216 participants (115 [53.2%] male).

Results: The participants were physicians (122 [56.5%]) and nurses (54 [25%]). A total of 47 (21.8%) participants had a history of rash, itching, cracking, scaling, or weeping of the skin after latex glove use. Itching, sneezing, runny nose, and swelling of the hands were the most common associated symptoms. Commonly reported past allergic diseases included eczema (20.4%), hay fever (12.5%), and a history of frequent surgeries or other invasive medical procedures (14.8%). A history of anaphylaxis or intraoperative shock, or allergic symptoms following a dental, pelvic, or rectal examination, or after using condoms, diaphragms, or latex-based sexual aids were reported by 1.9%, 2.8%, and 2.3% of participants, respectively. There was a significant association between latex allergy symptoms and the type of occupation performed as well as the history of anaphylaxis and exposure to latex-based products. Allergic symptoms following consumption or handling of banana, pineapple, or kiwi were reported by 1.4% of subjects.

Conclusion: Latex allergy symptoms are common among HCWs in KAUH; however, few HCWs have reported significant anaphylactic reactions. These findings suggest that the use of powder-free latex gloves in lieu of latex gloves by HCWs can help reduce the prevalence of adverse reactions to latex. Clinical evaluation and guidance should be provided to HCWs with present or past latex-associated allergic reactions.

Keywords: Latex; Allergy; Anaphylaxis; Healthcare Workers; Healthcare Professionals; Natural Rubber


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Citation: Esrra Alharbi., et al. “Prevalence of Latex Allergy among Healthcare Workers at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: A Cross-sectional Study”. EC Microbiology 17.2 (2021): 216-222.

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