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Things To Know: Nitrile Glove Allergy Symptoms

Nitrile rubber is a material that is commonly used to make the kind of gloves that doctors and other health professionals use. Mechanics, chemists and other professionals sometimes use these types of gloves, as well. It is an alternative to latex, which many people are allergic to. Unfortunately for some, it is also possible to be allergic to the chemicals or components in nitrile gloves.

Increasingly, allergies to latex gloves have caused organizations to switch to nitrile gloves. While this helps the people who are allergic to latex, it also means that more people are exposed to nitrile. Fewer people are allergic to nitrile than to latex, but it does occur.

Symptoms of an allergy to nitrile rubber can include more obvious signs such as redness on the hands, as well as less obvious signs, such as facial swelling. Some common reactions in people who are allergic to nitrile gloves include:

  • Redness of the hands
  • Swelling of the hands
  • A burning sensation in the hands
  • Watery eyes
  • Facial swelling
  • Stuffy or runny nose

The component of the material that sensitive people react to is not entirely agreed upon. Some people posit that the allergen responsible is a chemical used in the manufacturing process, not the material itself. Some people claim that allergies to the dyes used in these gloves cause at least some reactions. It is also possible that an occasional batch of nitrile gloves might be contaminated with latex, which can cause people with latex allergies to react.

Determining whether or not a person has an allergy to nitrile gloves can be difficult. People with obvious symptoms such as red and swollen hands may get a diagnosis fairly quickly, but people with more general symptoms may have trouble making the connection. A test is available for people who want to know if they are allergic to specific components found in nitrile gloves.

Sometimes, skin irritation caused by wearing gloves can be mistaken for an allergic reaction. Different materials may have different levels of ventilation, which can lead to faster or slower moisture buildup and irritation. Switching gloves more often can provide some people with relief from this problem.

Dealing with this allergy is mostly a matter of avoidance. Some people who react to the dyes in the gloves can successfully wear other brands that use different dyes. It is possible to purchase various types gloves made without certain other chemicals, as well. People who are allergic to one of these chemicals but not actually to the nitrile material itself may be able to use this hypoallergenic type of glove. Otherwise, switching to gloves made of another material is the best treatment.