Latex allergy is known to trigger skin issues such as swelling or rashes as well as rhinitis and breathing difficulties. In some individuals, it can lead to a serious reaction known as anaphylaxis. This severe reaction is life-threatening and requires immediate emergency care.
A close look on latex allergy
Latex allergy is basically an allergic response to the natural rubber latex which is the milky liquid extracted from the rubber tree plant. The liquid is processed and utilized in various items that can easily trigger an allergic reaction among individuals who are highly sensitive to the substance.
It is the protein present in latex that triggers an allergic reaction. Elastic products such as condoms, rubber gloves and balloons contain protein content that is higher than in hard rubber products, thus they are more likely to trigger a reaction. Other products that are known to trigger issues among highly sensitive individuals include rubber bands, baby bottle nipples, rubber toys, some adhesive tapes and bandages as well as window insulation and shower curtains.
Take note that latex allergy can also be triggered by exposure to latex gloves. Nevertheless, this is more likely to occur with the powdered gloves since the latex particles can attach to the powder and trigger a reaction once the powder is inhaled. In the past, healthcare workers are prone to develop this allergy. At the present, with the availability of synthetic gloves, the cases of allergic reactions drastically reduced.
Remember that the allergy is more likely to develop among individuals who are regularly exposed to latex such as children who have undergone a number of operations or those who have spina bifida. It is also believe that some atopic individuals face a higher risk since they are more likely to develop an allergy.
In addition, there is also a link between the proteins in latex and those in certain foods, thus individuals who are allergic to avocados, bananas, mangoes, kiwi fruit, potatoes, chestnuts and tomatoes might also be at risk for developing latex allergy. Equally, anyone with latex allergy might also develop an allergy to any of these foods.
How to diagnose latex allergy
It is important to note that latex allergy can be diagnosed with a skin prick test or a blood test. In some circumstances, a challenge test might be performed in a hospital or clinic.
An effective treatment for latex allergy typically involves avoidance of the known triggers and the use of alternatives to the traditional latex products, both in the medical environment and in daily life.
The treatment can also include antihistamines, inhalers and the use of adrenaline auto-injectors in case of anaphylaxis. The use of identification jewelry such as a bracelet or necklace might be considered so that others are aware of the allergy.