Should latex allergy reduction policies include banning latex balloon use?

Answered by: 
Robert G. Hamilton, PhD at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland

The Johns Hopkins Hospital Policy from the interdisciplinary clinical practice manual (PAT014) states that "latex balloons are prohibited from entering or being used in the institution by patients, families, staff or vendors per the JHH Latex Balloon Policy. The use of non-latex (e.g. Mylar) balloons is required in place of latex balloons." Unpublished RAST inhibition latex allergen testing on latex balloons at Johns Hopkins and direct experience in the Johns Hopkins Hospital with latex allergic children developing allergy symptoms in the presence of latex balloons has forced us to ban balloons.