Latex Allegy and Implications for Urology Nursing*
by Bernadette Patriarca and Denise M. Korniewicz
When treating latex-sensitive individuals, nurses who specialize in urology should be aware of the possible reactions, treatments and precautionary steps.
Groups who are at a high risk for developing a latex allergy are:
- Patients with myelomeningocele
- Patients who had multiple invasive medical and surgical procedures during childhood (e.g. spina bifida)
- Patients with fruit allergies
- Individuals with a family history of atopy
Urology nurses should be particularly aware of the risk factors associated with multiple urologic surgeries, reconstruction or congenital urinary tract problems. Some precautions for nurses working with urology patients are:
- Wear powder-free latex gloves
- Employ good handwashing techniques to decrease the amount of powder residue on hands
- Use latex gloves with a low allergen content
Knowledge about safe products and their use, as well as products that may increase an individual's latex exposure rate, is an important prevention strategy and can help decrease the incidence of latex allergy. Additional precautions for patients with latex allergies include developing a policy and procedure manual, using a latex-free cart and designating certain treatment rooms as latex-safe.
*Article published in UROLOGIC NURSING, September 1999, Vol.19, No. 3