Facts About Nitrile Allergy

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

If you are a medical practitioner then you might be familiar with nitrile gloves. Nitrile gloves are made from a synthetic polymer with similar attributes to natural rubber latex. These gloves are free from latex proteins that cause allergies in some people. Nitrile gloves also provide better protection against biohazard or toxic chemicals. They are also more resistant to tearing or punctures compared to gloves made from natural latex. Because nitrile gloves are made with synthetic materials, they have longer shelf life compared to natural rubber.

Between latex and nitrile gloves, the former is the most popular and widely used. Latex gloves are made from the latex ducts of rubber trees. These gloves are resilient against biohazards and chemicals. They are also very elastic and fits the hands well. But they also cause allergies to those sensitive to latex.

There is a higher probability of latex allergy if the latex gloves are not processed and washed properly. It’s also not as resistant to chemicals as nitrile gloves. But latex gloves are commonly used because they are biodegradable. They are friendlier to the environment compared to gloves made of synthetic materials.

Are Nitrile Gloves Better Than Latex Gloves?

To a certain extent, it is. Because nitrile gloves are resistant to biohazards and chemicals, they get the job done more effectively. They are also thicker than latex gloves so they don’t tear easily. But apart from its large carbon footprint, some people developed allergies to nitrile gloves too. So it’s not as safe as others believe it to be.

Allergies to nitrile are very rare. It’s so rare that some doctors think the patient is suffering from latex allergy instead of nitrile allergy. But it’s a real medical condition. In fact, there were hundreds of cases related to nitrile allergy. Not much is known about this condition because nitrile is a new material used for medical gloves.

Symptoms of Nitrile Allergy

The symptoms of nitrile allergy are similar to latex allergy. The skin on the hands becomes inflamed. Areas of the hand where skin is at its thinnest will develop rashes. The skin will become dry, flaky and cracked. It will look leathery and thick with a spongy texture. This condition is called contact dermatitis. In severe cases, nitrile allergy could trigger pompholyx eczema. This condition is characterized by itchy blisters.

Treatment for Nitrile Allergy

Balanced Diet

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks harmless foreign objects in the body. Certain types of foods could calm an overactive immune system. By eating a balanced meal, you could decrease the incident of nitrile allergy. It could also help the body heal itself faster after an allergic reaction.


When the immune system deems harmless foreign objects as a threat, it will generate histamines. Histamines are compounds that will trigger inflammation. This is the reason why you suffer from wheezing, congestion, and watery eyes during an allergic reaction. It also triggers itchiness, runny nose and swelling of the affected area during an allergic attack. Taking over the counter antihistamines help neutralize the effects of histamines.

If you suffer from nitrile allergy, but your job requires you to wear gloves all the time, ask for an alternative solution to your employer. Also, do not wear skin creams or lotions before wearing gloves. It could worsen the symptoms.