- by BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals
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- Feb 15 2018
LATEX ALLERGY: CAUSES, SYMPTOMS & TREATMENT
Latex allergy is a reaction from the proteins present in natural rubber latex.
In the case of a latex allergy, your immune system begins to identify latex as a harmful substance or a foreign invader, thereby, triggering antibodies (allergens) to counter it. The next time you are exposed to latex, these antibodies will make your immune system release histamine into your bloodstream, producing allergic reactions.
Latex allergy can take place in two ways:
- Direct contact: Touching latex-containing products such as latex gloves, condoms and balloons.
- Inhalation: Inhaling airborne latex particles.
Some common products that contain latex and should be avoided are:
- Rubber toys
- Dishwashing gloves
There are various other products that contain latex so it is important to recognise them and avoid them to prevent any reaction.
The symptoms range from mild to severe and may not be the same in each case. Some common symptoms of a latex allergy include:
- Hives or rashes
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Difficulty breathing
If you are suffering from certain conditions, you are more likely to develop a latex allergy. Some of the risk factors are:
- Health care workers
- Rubber industry workers
- History of allergies
- Having undergone multiple surgeries
- People with Spina Bifida
- Having food allergies
Like most allergies, it is not easy to diagnose a latex allergy. The Doctor will ask for your symptoms and medical history, followed by a thorough physical examination. A skin test could be conducted to check if your skin reacts adversely after coming in contact with latex proteins. Blood test could also be conducted to check for latex sensitivity.
There is no cure for latex allergy but medications are available to reduce the symptoms and provide relief. The only way to avoid contacting an allergy is to stay away from the source of the allergy. However, latex being a common product, it may become difficult to avoid it completely.
It is best to carry your emergency medications and an epinephrine to control your reaction after exposure to latex and relieve the pain.
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