Latex Allergy Policy

  1. Use of latex gloves should be minimized when possible on campus
  2. Use / display of latex balloons is prohibited on campus
  3. Educational material on latex allergies will be provided to students / employees on an annual basis by human resources and student life (student handbook/employee handbook) with help from student health services if needed
  4. If necessary, employees will be shown proper skin protection techniques for working with students who are sensitive or allergic to latex.
  5. Personnel should be aware and help to identify existing items on campus that contain latex that may need to be eliminated or have warning labels posted
  6. As existing equipment is replaced, non-latex equipment should be considered when purchased, if available. If non-latex materials are not available, skin contact precautions will be utilized with anyone who has a latex allergy or sensitivity.
  7. Human Resources and Student Life will work together to identify and educate departments that may use latex:
    1. Biology / Chemistry labs
    2. Athletic Department
    3. Athletic Trainer
    4. Wellness Center
    5. Waldorf College Bookstore
    6. Food Service
    7. Facilities
    8. Student Health Services
  8. Human Resources will contact community agencies that provide services to Waldorf about our latex policy at the beginning of every academic year such as:
    1. Bill’s Family Foods
    2. Courtyard Gardens
    3. Forest City Greenhouse
    4. Winnebago Public Health (on campus for flu shots or screenings)
    5. Blood Center of Iowa (on campus for blood drive)
  9. Departments needing to use latex products should communicate accordingly to constituents and label or post warnings as needed about the use of latex and allergy sensitivities

For more information on latex sensitivity, please visit the following web site.

Title: Latex Allergy - - familydoctor.org

http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/allergies/basics/254.html

Latex awareness introduction: In recent years, an increasing number of people have developed a sensitivity or allergy to latex products. Waldorf College currently has students, staff and guests on campus that have allergies to latex. Waldorf College recognizes this major health concern and outlines a new policy to decrease our community's exposure to latex allergy concerns.

What is latex? Natural rubber latex comes from a liquid in tropical rubber trees. This liquid is processed to make many of the following rubber products used at home and at work:

  • Balloons
  • Rubber toys
  • Pacifiers and baby-bottle nipples
  • Rubber bands & Condoms
  • Adhesive tape and bandages
  • Diapers and sanitary pads

What is latex allergy? The thin, stretchy latex rubber in gloves and balloons is high in this protein that causes an allergic reaction in some people. It causes more allergic reactions than products made of hard rubber (like tires). Also, because some latex gloves are coated with cornstarch powder, the latex protein particles stick to the cornstarch and fly into the air when the gloves are taken off or when a balloon might be popped. In places where gloves are being put on and removed frequently, the air may contain many latex particles.

What are the symptoms of latex allergy? Latex allergy can result from repeated exposure to proteins in natural rubber latex through skin contact or inhalation. Reactions usually begin within minutes of exposure to latex, but they can occur hours later. Exposure to latex produces a variety of symptoms, including skin rash and inflammation, respiratory irritation, asthma, coughing, hives, watery eyes and in rare cases anaphylactic shock.

The most common reaction to latex products and is characterized by development of dry, itchy, irritated areas on the skin, usually the hands. This reaction is caused by skin irritations from using gloves, powder in the gloves, latex balloons and possibly exposure to other workplace products and chemicals. The powder used to line disposable gloves and balloons can absorb latex proteins and then become airborne resulting in asthmatic reactions among individuals who did not use gloves or touch the balloons but merely inhaled latex-containing dust.

The most serious of the reactions that usually begin within minutes of exposure to latex, but can occur hours later with a variety of symptoms. Rarely, anaphylactic shock may occur; but a life-threatening reaction is seldom the first sign of latex allergy. Latex allergy can be mild or severe, with symptoms such as:

  • Itchy, red, watery eyes
  • Sneezing or runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Rash or hives
  • Chest tightness and shortness of breath
  • Shock

Who is at risk for latex allergy? People also at risk are those who have had many operations, especially in childhood, and people with spin bifida and urologic abnormalities. Latex products are everywhere. Anyone can become allergic to latex.

Studies indicate that 1-6% of the general populations are sensitized to latex. A smaller group of the population has been classified as higher risk for latex sensitization. Those individuals include:

  1. persons with multiple allergic conditions, including food allergies,
  2. persons with Spina Bifida or other neural tube defects,
  3. persons who have undergone multiple surgical procedures,
  4. persons requiring multiple bladder catheterizations.

All Medical Emergencies Dial: 9-911