Latex allergies are a topic that I have never written anything about. However, I was talking with a friend the other day and she said she was allergic to latex gloves, and worse thing is that she’s a doctor, so she just discovered that she won’t be able to continue using latex gloves during surgeries because she starts itching. My friend is not the only person who needs to deal with this allergy, and so I would like to talk a little about the symptoms, causes and treatment available for latex allergies, as they are becoming a little common nowadays.
Before mentioning the symptoms, we are going to start saying that latex allergies mean an exaggerated or pathological body reaction to latex, and it causes sneezing, itching, respiratory problems and skin rashes, just like any other type of allergy. Latex allergies are a reaction to certain proteins that have been encountered in natural rubber latex, a product manufactured from a milky fluid derived from the rubber tree (called Hevea brasiliensis) found in Africa and Southeast Asia.
If you have a latex allergy, your body erroneously interprets latex as a harmful substance, which is why it reacts when you have the minimum contact with it. As I previously mentioned, latex allergy may cause allergic reactions like sneezing, runny nose but it can also cause a very dangerous condition called anaphylactic shock, a potentially life-threatening condition. Your doctor is in fact the only person who can determine if whether or not you have a latex allergy or if you’re at risk of developing a latex allergy later on.
It is very important to understand latex allergies, especially if you suffer them, since you must become familiar with common sources of latex in order to prevent your own allergic reactions or those of someone else. People who suffer latex allergies habitually have a reaction after being in contact with the latex in rubber gloves. Latex allergies reactions can show up when you use surgical equipment like examination or surgical gloves, stethoscopes, catheters, electrode pads, tourniquets and goggles.
There are also other products containing latex that we all use, such as condoms, diaphragms, balloons, baby bottle nipples, erasers, computer mouse pads, and rubber bands, so you must take these into consideration as well to prevent contact and avoid the symptoms of latex allergies. Sometimes, even when you have made all efforts to avoid the contact, you will accidentally have contact with latex, so in those cases you go to emergency room and get an injection of epinephrine.
The best thing you can do is visiting the emergency room immediately to get proper medical assistance, to prevent worse consequences. For less severe allergies, your doctor may perhaps prescribe antihistamines, which you can take after experience to an allergen to control your reaction and help relieve discomfort. There are creams available for you to use during skin rashes for latex allergies, and they work well, but make sure it is a cream created for that purpose.