Today my friends, I would like to discuss Latex allergies that seem to becoming more common everyday. I thought I would try to give you some useful and hopefully helpful information about the symptoms, products that contain latex, and what your alternative choices are.
What is Latex?
Latex is a very common substance and is made from the sap from a rubber tree. The milky sap is blended with chemicals during manufacturing to give latex its elastic quality. It is readily available product and for many people a good choice to use to make many common items. Latex is almost every where you go from your own home, the grocery store, and in your doctor’s office.
Latex is used in over 40,000 products.
Who has the highest factors for latex allergy?
- Some people are born with a genetic predisposition to be allergic to latex
- those with repeated exposure to latex risk increased substantially such as health care workers that wear latex gloves
- people who require frequent surgery or catheter use
- workers in the manufacturing or distribution of latex products
- for unknown reasons, people who have surgeries of the spine or urinary tract have a higher risk of latex allergy
- there seems to be a unique connection between food allergy and persons allergic to latex although the cause of the association is unknown–people allergic to latex are often allergic to bananas and sometimes other foods like kiwi, papaya, avocados and apricots.
If latex is a problem for you then you need to be on guard.
Products that may contain latex:
- rubber gloves
- IV tubing
- tennis shoes
- balloons and other rubber toys
- baby bottle nipples and pacifiers
- belts on grocery check out lines are all made from latex.
- Waistbands on clothing
- Hot water bottles
- Disposable diapers
- Sanitary pads
- Rubber bands and Erasers
There are two different ways your body reacts to Latex.
1. A chemical additive used in manufacturing process can cause the body to react. When this is the case usually the symptoms include blistering and a rash that occurs within a day or two after exposure.
2. The second is from latex protein and this normally occurs within minutes of exposure. Proteins that cause allergic reactions can also be released in the air from latex gloves that are coated with cornstarch and when inhaled can cause some individuals to become more sensitized to latex. The symptoms of latex proteins include hives, runny nose, allergic asthma, itching and much more serious reactions such as anaphylactic shock. Symptoms of anaphylaxis typically involve more than one part of the body and may include:
Latex allergy can be as simple of a reaction as a rash or it can be a traumatic as being life threatening attack. From constant exposure to latex your body can become more sensitive to this substance and a simple reaction can evolve into a dramatic one.
- Skin redness
- Hives or rash
Latex allergy symptoms that are more severe include:
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Scratchy throat
- Difficulty breathing
Symptoms of anaphylaxis typically involve more than one part of the body and may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Drop in blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
- Rapid or weak pulse
- Chest tightness
- Diarrhea and Stomach cramping
- Pale or red color to the face and body
According to the AAAAI –the only way to prevent an allergic reaction to latex is to avoid the substance. A new, natural rubber latex from the desert plant guayule is now being used for many products. This product is thought to be a safer alternative for people with latex allergy and healthcare workers.
If you have latex allergy you need to be prepared to talk to your doctor or medical provider about the proper treatment and precautions that are best for you! Our best defense against allergies of any kind is to use natural, organic, and eco-friendly products when possible. Living green is a way of life that will ensure a healthier life for you, your family and all future generations.
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