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Joelyn Yap

Glove Allergies and Hand Health

Glove allergies are potentially life-threatening. Adverse reactions can range from itching to more serious responses such as anaphylaxis. Understanding the nature and causes of these conditions can help identify and reduce the risk of allergies, and ultimately create a safer working environment.

Workers in a range of industries and professions rely on disposable gloves to provide a barrier against unwanted contact with a range of substances. These occupations are diverse – from life science and laboratory work to food processing and preparation, from the automotive industry to emergency and first responders.

While each environment presents a distinctly different set of workplace activities, they all necessitate prolonged disposable glove use, regular glove changes and frequent hand washing, which can have a significant negative impact on hand health if the chosen protective solutions are not suitable.

Skin allergies from adverse reactions to glove products are generally classified into three distinct types, immediate hypersensitivity or Type I, delayed hypersensitivity or Type IV, and irritant contact dermatitis. At best, they are uncomfortable for the affected individual, but if left ignored, misunderstood, or exacerbated through the use of unsuitable hand protection, the problems can quickly become far more serious.