The Importance of Latex-Free Products in the Healthcare Industry
Like all allergies, latex allergies develop over time with exposure. This is a safety concern when it comes to protecting the patient, and critical to protecting healthcare staff. Once a latex allergy has been established, it can quickly escalate into a potentially deadly situation, with anaphylaxis being common. Healthcare workers who develop a latex allergy need to be moved to a latex-free environment, and in some cases can be forced to give up their profession. Here we will discuss some of the reasons it is important for healthcare facilities to provide a latex-free environment that contains all latex-free products.
First, it is important to understand what latex is and where it can be found to better understand why it is such a concern in the healthcare industry. Latex products are made from rubber which derives from the sap of trees. This natural product has been the preferred substance to manufacture gloves and other medical products because of its comfort that fits like a second skin and allows for a high level of touch sensitivity. The healthcare industry uses them because they are inexpensive to make and keep infectious material to reach the hands of the wearer. The biggest benefit of using latex products is that it is incredibly stretchy and strong. Latex rubber is used to make gloves, catheters and medical tubing, tape and electrode pads, blood pressure cuffs, tourniquets, stethoscopes, mattress protectors, band-aids and wraps, medicine vials, and physical therapy equipment.
Protect patients and staff.
One of the most important reasons that the healthcare industry, as a whole, should adopt a latex-free environment is the risk of patients and staff developing allergies with repeat exposure. Healthcare workers, chronically ill patients, and those with spina bifida are at an increased risk of developing anaphylactic allergies to latex. While the symptoms can be as minor as contact dermatitis, many latex products are used internally and can cause significant problems. While all healthcare facilities are required to maintain latex-free products for use by those who already have a known allergy, when both latex and latex-free products are made available, the risk of the healthcare professional and patient coming into contact with latex products is still high. To prevent any person from coming into contact with latex products, it is best for healthcare facilities to adopt a totally latex-free environment.
Adopting a completely latex-free environment helps the facility to save significant amounts of money. Ordering a single product over several different options helps to reduce the amount of product held around the facility in both storage rooms and in the clinical setting. Additionally, when only one type of product is used it reduces confusion and the need for additional clarification or signage. When potentially dangerous products are eliminated, so is the risk for potentially costly adverse reactions. Not only can the facility cut down on the cost related to treating an adverse reaction — drugs, additional treatment time and resources, and longer stays — but it helps avoid lawsuits, worker’s compensation suits, and loss of quality employees.
Latex allergies are a healthcare industry problem that has reached epidemic-level proportions. At HR Pharmaceuticals, we are dedicated to helping improve the healthcare industry for both healthcare workers as well as their patients by reducing latex-related incidents. We believe that latex-free products should be the standard of care to help prevent potentially deadly reactions and have created products that are safe for use in any setting. For a superior product and latex-free surgical lubricant option, choose SurgiLube® Surgical Lubricant. Available in a variety of sizing options, SurgiLube is perfect for use in any setting. Shop our entire latex-free product line today!