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Latex Allergy Awareness Week

10/04/2020

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, up to six percent of people in the United States have a latex allergy, including up to 12 percent of health care workers and 17 percent of food service workers, 11 percent of the elderly, and 68 percent of people with spina bifida; and

WHEREAS, exposure to natural rubber latex is the second most common cause of anaphylaxis in the operating room; and

WHEREAS, individuals with a latex allergy may also experience allergic symptoms when eating certain fruits, vegetables, and nuts, including, among other things, bananas, avocados, kiwis, tomatoes, carrots, and chestnuts; 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 4-10, 2020, as LATEX ALLERGY AWARENESS WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.