Reactions connected with Latex-allergies
Risks for developing a latex allergy include working in the healthcare industry and/or requiring multiple surgical procedures. Reactions to latex containing products present in various forms:
Contact Dermatitis: A contact allergy causes a significant red, itchy rash only at the site of contact. This is not life-threatening but can be very bothersome. More than 30% of healthcare workers report this type of reaction. These individuals are at increased risk for developing more severe reactions to latex with ongoing exposure.
Contact Urticaria (Hives):A “local” allergy that causes hives and itching at the site of contact. This type of reaction places the individual at increased risk for developing a life-threatening reaction to latex.
Anaphylaxis: This is a full body reaction to latex allergens and can include itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, chest tightness, wheezing, hives, swelling, drop in blood pressure and shock. This is a potentially life-threatening response to latex allergens. Latex needs to be strictly avoided and the patient should wear a MedicAlert bracelet.
Evaluation for latex allergy includes a thorough history, skin testing, and potentially blood testing. Frequently the diagnosis is based on history alone as there is no standardized testing material. Controlled exposure can also aid in diagnosis. It is important to have this potentially life-threatening allergy evaluated.