Porphyria Educational Services

Porphyria Educational Services Weekly Bulletin
Vol. 2 No. 52 December 31, 2000
FOCUS: Latex Sensitivity

Utilization of latex free products in providing care for porphyria patients with known or
identified latex allergies from additional exposure is a must. Also it is important that
such products, especially gloves, also be "powder free".

Health care providers caring for porphyria patients should choose l;atex free products
in providing care for patients with known or identified latex allergies from additional exposure both during times of exacerbation of their porphyria and during remission as well. Exposure to latex could possibly be a trigger for some porphyria patients with very sensitive cutaneous
aspects of porphyria.
Latex sensitivity can occur as an immediate hypersensitivity resulting in difficulty breathing, anaphylaxis or to a lesser extent five to thirty minutes after latex contact with symptoms including hives, eczema, and/or facial swelling.

Other less severe reactions occur as delayed hypersensitivity six to forty-eight hours after
contact or may result in an irritant dermatitis.

How does one know for sure if latex is a problem?

Positive results to intradermal testing, skin prick test (SPT) or radiolallergosorbent (RAST) test are additional methods of identifying persons with suspected latex sensitivity. It is important to note here that many medical insurance providers do not pay for random PAST testing.

Porphyria patients should have access to latex free supplies which will enable their care to be provided in a safe, efficient manner without exposure to elements known to trigger porphyria or cause cutaneous or neurologic reaction.

In addition the following measures should be enacted for patients with known latex sensitivities. Whether it be in a clinic setting or hospital setting, there should be a
placement of allergy armband and/or a chart sticker that will aleart all medical care
providers to the latex sensitivity.

When a porphyric patient goes into a hospital setting, scheduling of a test or surgical procedure should be made as the first case of the day when the environment is known to be the most allergen free. Pre-procedure prophylactic treatment is not required but may be given at the patient's medical care provider's discretion.

There should be a report on discharge summary so that reasonable efforts will be made to
minimize additional exposure as the patient leaves their isolation area and proceeds to
the main exit of the medical facility.

Prior to a porphyria patient's admission education and information about latex sensitivity should be provided to all staff.

However well executed the plan, there is always a chance that exposure will occur. If a patient experiences a latex reaction. It must be noted here in closing that any anaphylactic latex reactions are required to be reported to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Jill Williams, MNS
Special Procedures Coordinator