Latex allergy is everyone's business. Even those who aren't sensitive to latex should play a role to keep the harmful material away from those who endure its toxic touch. Here are the 5 Ws that you should know about latex allergy.
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-made products normally have tendencies to be fitting or skin-tight, which is why the material is often used for BDSM costumes and for people who are into this type of fetish fashion.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 has spina bifida are also susceptible to latex allergy.
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.
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. Continued exposure to latex and its similar components can lead to a more serious concern and may even cause the patient to suffer from asthma.
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 Adrenaline 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
Patients who have been diagnosed with this allergic condition must always practice all preventive measures since there are no available treatments that can cure it. However, there are certain prescribed medications which temporarily alleviate common symptoms.
Those who have severe allergic reactions to latex can also wear a MedicAlert bracelet. You should also stock up on non-latex sterile gloves and Adrenaline injection, especially when travelling.
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.