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Coping And Living With A Latex Allergy

Oct 12, 2007
Allergies to thousands of things abound in our world today. There are environmental allergens such as smog, pollution, pollen, dust and mold, as well as food allergies to items such as eggs, nuts, shellfish, wheat and dairy. There are also contact allergies to various items such as nickel and various chemicals, as well as latex allergy.

A latex allergy is a reaction caused by the protein in rubber that is called latex. This can be found in gloves, balloons, condoms and some children's toys. The air can even contain latex particles when certain powder is applied or coated over the gloves. For those who live with this condition, seemingly simple daily routines can become quite dangerous.

Symptoms And Reactions To Latex Allergy

The symptoms of a latex allergy can be mild or severe, depending on the sensitivity of the person. These symptoms often include red, itchy or watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing, rashes or hives, coughing, shortness of breath or shock. Sometimes, those who wear latex gloves can get cracks or red raised areas on their hands.

The symptoms usually don't appear right away but may take 12 to 36 hours to appear. These symptoms can be relieved by paying more attention to the care of one's hands, as well as wearing non-latex gloves. Latex allergies can cause serious life-threatening reactions with no previous warning or symptoms, as well.

Those who have the highest risk for latex allergies are health care workers and rubber industry workers. Those with hay fever have an even greater chance of developing latex allergy. Also people who had several operations in childhood are also more likely to have this allergy. Yet, with the prevalence of latex, anyone can develop a latex allergy.

A latex-sensitive person can also have a life-threatening allergic reaction with no previous warning or symptoms. There is also some connection between certain foods and latex allergy. Bananas, avocados, kiwi fruit and tomatoes are the most common foods which all contain a similar protein as latex and can therefore cause a cross-reaction. Yet, it is advisable to continue eating those foods which have previously caused no allergic reaction.

If someone suspects that they may have a latex allergy, seeing a medical doctor is advised, preferably one who is experienced with testing for and treating this condition. Skin testing for latex allergy is usually not advised, as severe reactions can result, yet the test can be performed with a blood draw. Knowing that you have this allergy is one step in the direction of preventing the symptoms and reactions from occurring.
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