8 Important Facts about the Dangers of Latex Material



Latex is one of the most common materials used in clothing. It is usually utilized to manufacture specific clothing types like bodysuits and leotards as well as other garments like gloves and stockings.
Latex is also used for other items like erasers, condoms, pacifiers, carpet backing, Koosh balls and even buttons on remote controls. Other products include handbags, shoes and other related accessories.
Dangers of Latex
Most people think that latex is just another material for clothes but unfortunately, it is also one of the most common causes for clothing related allergies.
Here are important facts about latex and dangers surrounding it:

1. The number of latex-sensitive individuals is increasing
Recent studies have shown that more and more people are becoming latex-sensitive, even regular individuals who are not always exposed to the material. Latex allergy is most common among workers in the health and medical field because of their constant use or exposure to related products like latex gloves. A medical practitioner who is allergic to latex will surely have a hard time performing tasks unless they take precautions.

2. Symptoms are similar to other medical conditions
The first and most common symptom of latex allergy is the appearance of a rash in the affected area. Many people may misdiagnose this reaction and associate it with other conditions. The same applies to other symptoms like sneezing, runny nose or swollen and itchy eyes. Hence, it may result to improper treatment and medication. Some patients have reported more serious symptoms such as wheezing, tightness of breath and coughing which are similar to symptoms of asthma.

3. Allergy towards natural rubber latex vs chemicals used
If you suspect having latex allergy, then the next best step is to consult your physician so they can run a latex skin prick test. Your doctor may also perform other skin tests to diagnose if you are allergic to natural rubber latex or to the chemicals that are added to the product.

4. Allergic contact dermatitis
In relation to chemicals, another form of allergy is called allergic contact dermatitis. It is caused by chemicals found in rubber gloves. Blisters and eczema are usually found in the affected area and it normally looks like a poison ivy rash.
It is best to consult a physician right away to make sure that proper diagnosis and treatment will be conducted for contact dermatitis or other conditions mentioned above.

5. Risk Factors
Apart from medical or health workers, industry workers or people who are regularly exposed to natural rubber latex can also develop an allergic reaction to this material. People who have undergone multiple surgeries or children who have spina bifida are also susceptible to latex allergy.

6. Latex allergy can be fatal
Allergic reactions to latex can actually get worse especially if the patient does not take any medication or exercise precaution. Allergic reactions to latex can be very serious and fatal too.  

7. Continued exposure effects
The best way to prevent the allergies from happening or worsening is to stay away from products that are made of latex components. Continued exposure to latex and its similar components can lead to a more serious problem and may even cause the patient to suffer from asthma.

8. Anaphylactic shock
The good news is that the condition can be prevented. However, there are instances wherein the problem can become deadly, especially if the patient is not careful or does not heed doctor’s recommendations. This serious allergic reaction is called anaphylactic shock and can happen within minutes of exposure. In cases like this, the patient must be immediately treated with an adrenalin injection to prevent further complications.
Direct contact with latex can cause anaphylactic shock especially if the patient is extremely allergic to the material itself. Direct contact happens when the skin barrier has been compromised or when the contact is across the mucous membrane (mouth, vagina or urethra).
Prevention is better than cure
As always, prevention is still better than cure. So once you start experiencing the first signs of a latex allergic reaction, the best defense is to keep away from products which trigger the allergy and consult your doctor right away for further testing if need be.

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  • Admin Cottonique
Comments 1
  • Jane

    There is so much wrong with this article I don’t know where to begin — from incorrect and/or incomplete information to dangerous suggestions to those who suspect they might be latex allergic.

    ANYone can develop latex allergy! Latex allergy is progressive – it gets worse with EACH exposure – the ONLY treatment is avoidance. Testing via skin prick would be extremely dangerous and is NOT the test of choice because it could lead to anaphylaxis as well as be a dangerous exposure that would advance the progression of NRLA (skin test, the latex would be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream) — those with serious and/or disabling latex allergy totally cringe at this extremely irresponsible suggestion. Latex exposures are not just skin-related (absorption). There’s airborne (inhalation AND absorption when it lands on your skin, gets in your mouth, eyes, nose), ingestion (eating/drinking foods/liquids that are either latex-cross-reactives or contaminated with latex due to latex gloves in use in manufacturing/distribution/serving or latex balloons), and injection (stinging insects with latex-cross-reactive proteins in their venom, shots with natural rubber stoppers) and more (ie drugs/supplements that are latex-contaminated or have latex-cross-reactive ingredients). Being careful and taking precautions are not enough for latex allergic people. It’s everywhere (in over 40,000 products and with the airborne factor of latex gloves and latex balloons, it can piggy-back on people (hair, skin, clothing, shoes) – get in ventilation systems – carpeting (where gets redistributed airborne when disturbed by walking, ETC!)… settles on EVERYthing! You can’t just take medications as prevention (body adjusts and becomes used to medications taken on a regular basis, requiring even more and more to stop a reaction)… meds also dull any warning signs/symptoms that might be present and a person can suddenly find themselves in the midst of a life-threatening reaction without even knowing/realizing they’d been exposed to latex. Once latex allergy has progressed to anaphylaxis, it’s only by using epinephrine that you can stop a reaction from killing you. you are at risk for latex allergy if you eat food, take medications or supplements, go shopping, dine in restaurants, travel on public transportation, stay at hotels, go to hairdressers, visit the doctor’s office, etc ANYWHERE/THING that is where latex gloves or balloons are present or in use — you’ve already had MULTIPLE exposures to latex via the foods you eat, liquids you drink, places you go, air you breathe, etc. You’re at “higher” risk if you work in the following industries: medical, clowning, rubber, automotive, have had surgeries or hospital stays, have spina bifida (because of the hospital stays/surgeries), ETC, ETC.
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