Could Glove-Related Hand Urticaria Be Rising in Health Care Workers?

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All workers described an urticarial reaction, which occurred within minutes of application of gloves
All workers described an urticarial reaction, which occurred within minutes of application of gloves

HealthDay News -- Health care workers are at high risk of glove-related hand urticaria, an occupational issue that may be increasing, according to a research letter published online in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Sean Hawkey and Sharizan Abdul Ghaffar, from the Ninewells Hospital & Medical School at the University of Dundee in the United Kingdom, describe 17 cases of glove-related hand urticaria among health care workers, diagnosed between 2012 and 2015.

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The researchers note that five of the workers were referred for a suspected latex allergy, seven for a nitrile allergy, and five for a combination. All workers described an urticarial reaction, which occurred within minutes of application of gloves. When linear pressure was applied on the skin, evidence of dermographism was described in all workers. 

Of the workers, three had underlying chronic idiopathic urticaria and 11 had concurrent hand dermatitis. A modified glove challenge was performed as a provocation test and specific immunoglobulin E and skin prick testing to latex were conducted if they used latex gloves; all tests were negative.

"As frequent glove users, health care workers are prone to glove-related hand urticaria and we believe this is an increasing occupational problem," the authors write. "We therefore encourage clinicians to consider this diagnosis in all workers who present with immediate, urticarial reaction to gloves, particularly if they have experienced the same symptoms to multiple glove types, irrespective of the presence of hand dermatitis."

Reference

Hawkey S, Abdul Ghaffar S. Glove-related hand urticaria: an increasing occupational problem amongst health care workers. Br J Dermatol. 2015. doi:10.1111/bjd.14318.

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