Tips for Health

Latex Allergy

By on April 20, 2012 in Diseases, Health, Prevention with 0 Comments

What is latex? 

The natural rubber latex comes from a liquid of tropical rubber trees. This liquid is processed to make many of the following rubber products used at home and at work:

  • Balloons
  • Dishwashing gloves
  • Waistbands on clothing
  • Rubber toys
  • Teats of pacifiers and bottles
  • Rubber bands
  • Bandages and dressings
  • Diapers and sanitary pads
  • Condoms

In addition, many medical and dental supplies contain latex, including gloves, blood pressure cuffs, urinary catheters, dental dams and material used to fill root canals as well as tourniquets and equipment for resuscitation. You can find non-latex substitutes for all these products with latex.

What is latex allergy?

In some people, the protein found in rubber can cause an allergic reaction. This reaction can range from sneezing to anaphylactic shock, a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

The thin rubber elastic gloves, condoms and balloons is high in this protein. It causes more allergic reactions to latex products made of hard rubber (like tires). Since some latex gloves are covered with corn starch, particles of latex proteins may remain attached to the cornstarch and fly into the air when the gloves are removed. In places where they are placed and removed gloves frequently, the air may contain many latex particles.

What are the symptoms of latex allergy?

Latex allergy can be mild or severe, with symptoms such as:

  • Itchy, red, or tearing
  • Sneezing or runny nose
  • Cough
  • Skin rash or hives
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath

Some people who wear latex gloves have bumps, sores, cracking or redness, or raised areas on the hands. These symptoms usually appear after 12 to 36 hours of being in contact with latex. Jump to latex gloves, using glove coatings, and pay more attention to the care of the hands can help relieve these symptoms.

A person who is allergic to latex may also have an allergic reaction that is life in danger, called anaphylactic shock.Symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Wheezing
  • Sickness
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid or weak pulse
  • Loss of consciousness

Someone who has an anaphylactic reaction needs immediate medical attention.

What should I do if I find out I have a latex allergy?

Although there is no treatment for latex allergy, you can reduce the risk of reaction by avoiding direct contact with latex. Take steps to find out which products in your environment contain latex. Then, find substitutes for these products you can use. It is also important to avoid inhaling latex particles of powdered gloves or other sources.

If you are a health care worker or a patient, all those around you should wear gloves powder-free latex or latex gloves. If you are a health care worker, compare the different types of latex gloves to find ones that are best for you.

Talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for injectable epinephrine pen for use in case of a severe reaction. You may want to take it with you all the time without latex gloves, for use by emergency personnel if you need medical attention.

If you are exposed to latex at work, tell your employer and co-workers about your latex allergy. Avoid latex gloves completely if not at risk of contamination by blood and body fluids. Use powder-free gloves if you prefer latex gloves. These measures will help other people do not become allergic to latex.


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