What is latex allergy?

Latex allergy is known to occur in some highly sensitive individuals. Latex is a natural rubber drawn from the sap of the rubber tree which commonly thrives in various areas in Southeast Asia and Africa.

Latex allergy develops after being exposed to latex. Rubber gloves have been the main source of sensitization and allergic reactions. A certain part of the latex substance is an allergen for many individuals. Take note that the powder present in gloves is an airborne allergen that can trigger airway symptoms in some individuals with the allergy.

Causes

The exact cause of latex allergy is still unknown but it is believed that repeated exposure to the substance as well as other rubber-based products can lead to sensitization and the distinctive symptoms.

Who are at risk for latex allergy?

  • Children diagnosed with spina bifida
  • Individuals with a history of several surgical procedures
  • Children diagnosed with certain congenital urological abnormalities
  • Individuals who wear latex gloves while at work such as those in the dental, healthcare, animal laboratory and veterinary medicine.
  • Workers in the rubber industry
    Latex allergy

    Some individuals who are highly sensitive and have the tendency to suffer from serious reactions can be prescribed with an injectable epinephrine.

  • Individuals with eczema, asthma or other hereditary allergies
  • Those who have recognized food allergies to avocado, banana, chestnuts or kiwi

Symptoms of latex allergy

If the individual is allergic to latex, he/she can end up with the following signs and symptoms:

  • Hives
  • Skin rashes
  • Itchiness
  • Eye tearing and irritation
  • Wheezing or constriction of the chest
  • Nasal symptoms such as drainage, sneezing or congestion

Individuals who have the allergy can end up with symptoms as a response to using gloves and develop a skin rash in areas that were covered by the gloves.

What to do during a reaction

An actual allergic response to latex hardly ever advances to a life-threatening reaction. On the other hand, once this occurs, the reaction includes breathing difficulty, low blood pressure or loss of consciousness. If not treated, a severe allergic reaction has the tendency to lead to death.

Due to this, some individuals who are highly sensitive and have the tendency to suffer from serious reactions can be prescribed with an injectable epinephrine. If the symptoms are severe, consult a doctor or call for emergency assistance.

Diagnosis

An individual is diagnosed with the condition if he/she has experienced the indications of an allergic reaction upon exposure to the substance or natural rubber-based products and there is proof of specific IgE to the substance via a skin or blood test.

Treatment

Avoidance is the main aspect of managing latex allergy. If an individual is diagnosed with the allergy, he/she must wear a medical alert bracelet and always bring along an injectable epinephrine at all times.

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