Patients & Visitors

Latex Balloon Guidelines

Latex Balloon Guidelines

Information for visitors to Brodstone Memorial Hospital, Superior Family Medical Center and Nelson Family Medical Center about a latex-safe environment.

Why no latex balloons?

For the safety of our patients, visitors and staff at our hospital and clinics, we provide a latex-safe environment. This means our buildings are free of latex powder. For this reason, latex balloons are not allowed in Brodstone Memorial Hospital, Superior Family Medical Center or Nelson Family Medical Center.

Latex balloons contain a powder which helps release them from molds when they are manufactured. This powder carries latex proteins, which can cause some people to have a severe allergic reaction. Latex balloons have an extremely high level of latex proteins, especially when compared to other products made with latex rubber.

Latex allergens in rubber items:

Item Allergy Units per milliliter
Powder-free latex gloves Less than 5
Pacifier Less than 5
Latex balloon 4,700

We encourage anyone sending or bringing gifts to patients at Brodstone Memorial to select gift options other than latex balloons. Mylar balloons, which are reflective and filled with helium, are a good alternative.

Common questions and answers about latex and why Brodstone Memorial is latex safe:

Q: Why is Brodstone Memorial latex safe?

A: The effort to be latex safe helps us provide the highest quality patient care. Being latex safe helps prevent reactions among people who are latex sensitive and the possible development of latex allergy because of continuous exposure to latex products over time. Providing this latex safe environment benefits everyone who enters our buildings.

Q: What are the symptoms of a latex allergic reaction?

A: Reactions can range from mild to life-threatening:
• Red and swollen skin, rash, hives or itching,
• Itchy, watery eyes, runny nose or sinus irritation,
• Coughing or difficulty breathing (wheezing, tightness in chest),
• "Anaphylatic shock" - any of the above symptoms plus very low blood pressure and obstructed breathing, leading to heart failure and death if left untreated.

Q: How common is latex allergy?

A: From 1 to 6 percent of the general public and 8 to 17 percent of healthcare workers have a latex allergy. The more often a person is exposed to latex, the greater is his or her chance of developing an allergy. Those at highest risk for latex allergy are:
• People born with spina bifida,
• People who have had multiple surgeries,
• People exposed to latex at work,
• People allergic to bananas, avocados, kiwi and chestnuts

Q: What is Brodstone Memorial doing to reduce exposure to latex?

A: At BMH we:
• Have extensively cleaned our buildings to remove latex powder,
• Use powder-free latex gloves and supplies for latex-allergic patients and employees,
• Do not allow latex balloons in any of our facilities.

Q: Are other hospitals in Nebraska latex safe?

A: Yes, more and more hospitals are understanding the importance of a latex safe environment.

Q: Who can I contact for more information?

Brodstone Memorial Hospital
Education Department
Phone 402-879-3281
Fax: 402-879-3401