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WHEREAS, the health, safety, and well-being of all Virginians are of utmost importance to the prosperity and livelihood of our Commonwealth’s families and communities; and
WHEREAS, latex allergy patients face a constant threat to their lives from exposure to rubber latex allergens; and
WHEREAS, reactions can be elicited by touching a product containing natural rubber latex, breathing airborne latex proteins, or digesting food prepared using latex gloves; and
WHEREAS, patients with a latex allergy may also experience allergic symptoms when eating certain fruits, vegetables, and nuts, including, among other things, banana, avocado, kiwi, tomato, carrot, and chestnut; and
WHEREAS, the incidence of latex allergies has increased due to widespread exposure to products containing latex; and
WHEREAS, up to six percent of people in the United States have a latex allergy, including up to 17 percent of health care and food service workers, 11 percent of the elderly, and 73 percent of children with spina bifida; and
WHEREAS, latex allergies result in approximately 220 cases of anaphylaxis and 3 deaths per year and is the second most common cause of anaphylaxis in the operating room; and
WHEREAS, there is no cure for a latex allergy, and every exposure increases the sensitivity and severity of the patient’s condition, with distress and rebound reactions for days after exposure; and
WHEREAS, latex allergies can only be prevented by avoiding all latex-related products, which can be found in homes, child care centers, stores, schools, workplaces, and health care environments, among other places; and
WHEREAS, natural rubber is found in over 40,000 products, including, but not limited to, hair accessories, toys, balloons, school and office supplies, sports equipment, and medical devices, resulting in a daily struggle for latex allergy patients to balance life and work with staying safe and healthy; and
WHEREAS, latex allergies result in a growing number of workers’ compensation claims arising from workplace exposure to products containing natural rubber latex; and
WHEREAS, the Allergy and Asthma Network raises awareness of latex allergies through education and provides support to individuals who have been diagnosed with a latex allergy;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize October 7-13, 2018, as LATEX ALLERGY AWARENESS WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.