What causes Latex Allergy?
A latex allergy is an allergic reaction to proteins found in natural rubber latex, most commonly used in latex gloves. Dipped rubber latex is the most common latex allergy.
A latex allergy can range from mild to severe. Below are some of the common symptoms experienced.
- mild reactions: itching, nasal congestion, redness
- moderate reactions: sneezing, runny nose, difficulty breathing, hives, itchy skin
- severe reactions: anaphylaxis
Common Latex Products
The following are the common products made out of latex:
- rubber gloves
- rubber bands
- baby bottle nipples
- blood pressure equipment
- intravenous tubing
- surgical masks
Who is at Risk?
If someone has repeatedly been exposed to latex products, they have a greater chance of getting a latex allergy. The following are people who have a higher risk of developing a latex allergy.
- healthcare professionals
- children with spina bifida
- patients with recurrent medical procedures or surgeries
- people who are exposed to latex in the workplace
Diagnosis, Prevention and Treatment
A latex allergy can be diagnosed through an allergy skin test, blood test or physical examination by an allergy specialist. There is no cure for a latex allergy. Avoidance is the best possible treatment for a latex allergy. People with severe latex allergies should carry epinephrine (know as an EpiPen) at all times and should consider wearing a medic-alert bracelet.
For severe allergic reactions, seek emergency medical attention.