Life Saving Tips in Case of Anaphylactic Shock 0
Latex allergy is a serious health risk and if you or anyone you know is suffering from this allergy you should know what steps to take if in case an allergic reaction leads to anaphylactic shock.
Latex Allergy: A Rising Concern 0
A concert in Australia last year almost took a life when an audience member’s latex allergy was suddenly triggered.
British award-winning singer Adele held a concert in Adelaide, Australia last year and during one of her song numbers a barrage of balloons were released on the audience.
What was supposed to be a moment of levity quickly turned into an ugly and almost fatal incident when one audience member who has a severe latex allergy exhibited symptoms of her condition.
Dr. Pooja Newman who was attending the concert suddenly felt her lips starting to swell.
Soon she was finding it hard to breathe and since she knew the severity of her condition she administered an epinephrine shot, with the assistance of her sister who was also with her, to herself.
9 Important Facts about the Dangers of Latex Material 1
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.
Latex Allergies: Risk Factors, Symptoms, Types and Preventing or Controlling Attacks 0
Latex allergy is described as a reaction of the immune system to protein found in rubber latex. Being allergic to latex can be deadly for some people while others may be able to control the symptoms through proper medical attention.
Where is Latex Found?
Latex can be found in numerous products since it is a primary component of many medical as well as dental supplies.
Common household products also contain latex which can cause serious problems especially during prolonged exposure.
Here are some of the common household items which contain latex:
- Baby bottle nipples and pacifiers
- Clothing items such as rain coats and underwear
- Sanitary napkins
- Condoms and diaphragms
- Handles on tools and sports equipment like sports rackets
- Switches and buttons on electronic devices
- Carpet backing
- Rubber bands
Risk to Health Workers
Since latex is commonly present in medical or dental supplies, research have shown that about 5% up to 10% of health care workers are affected with latex allergy. Unfortunately, doctors can’t really determine the cause of this type of allergic reaction. Some studies have at least pointed out that the allergy occurs when a person comes in contact with latex products after an extended period of time.
Additional Risk Factors
Although health workers are more at risk of being exposed to latex, other people who share these characteristics will most likely experience latex allergy as well:
- Eczema or certain kinds of pre-existing allergies
- Defect with bone marrow cells
- Had undergone more than one medical related surgical operation
- Allergic to chestnuts, avocados, kiwis or bananas
- Deformed bladder or urinary tract
- Wears a urinary catheter with a rubber tip
Types of Latex Allergies
This is the most serious allergic reaction. It can start as a nasal allergy coupled with symptoms that are similar to hay fever. Other symptoms include severe itching, conjunctivitis or pinkeye, hives or cramps. Other patients may experience life-threatening symptoms like tremors, rapid heartbeat, trouble breathing, chest pain, severe allergic reaction or low blood pressure.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
This condition is described as a delayed reaction to additives used when processing latex. The reaction can be more severe and may also spread to other parts of the body. The symptoms are expected to last longer too, which means that immediate medical attention is needed.
Irritant Contact Dermatitis
This condition is the least threatening and is not actually an allergic skin reaction. It happens because of repeated exposure to chemicals found in latex gloves. It can lead to itching, dryness, scaling, burning and skin problems.
Tips to Prevent or Control Latex Allergy Attacks
If you are have been diagnosed with latex allergy, then your best defense is to keep away from products that are generally made of latex. Avoiding latex products can be quite tricky for people who work in the medical field but fortunately, there are now special gloves that do not contain latex.
It is also advisable to stay away from areas in your workplace wherein latex is frequently used. People who are highly sensitive to latex must wear a medical alert bracelet so others will be made aware of their condition.
Your doctor will most likely prescribe EpiPen or epinephrine if you are diagnosed with severe allergic reaction to latex. Always keep this medication handy for severe cases.
For children who are highly sensitive to latex
Inform the school that about the child’s allergy to latex. Make sure that teachers, daycare workers and other authority figures within the educational institutional are aware of their condition. It is also advisable to inform your child’s medical or dental workers of their condition so they will be able to adjust accordingly.
Educating your children with latex allergy is also a must. Teach your children not to play or touch items that are made of latex. Toys should be carefully selected too. Choose those that are made up of safe materials. Always take the time to check the packaging of each toy or other products your kids use to see if latex and other similar materials are present.
If you are responsible for anyone with known latex allergy, here are serious symptoms to look out for:
- Fainting or dizzines
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Symptoms of shock such as weakness, cold and clammy skin or shallow breathing
- Stomach cramps
- Vomiting or diarrhea
Call 911 or your local emergency number right away if you or someone you know is experiencing the symptoms mentioned above. It is always better to be safe than sorry.