According to recent research, latex allergies are becoming more common, especially within the medical community. An allergy to latex is normally caused by over exposure to latex materials. Symptoms can range from minor to severe and should not be taken lightly. There is no failsafe way to avoid a reaction other than completely avoiding all contact with any materials that may contain latex.
Common Symptoms of a Latex Allergy
One of the most common latex allergy symptoms is a rash. This can be a minor reaction and may only require an over-the-counter allergy pill. Or, it may be severe and require medical treatment. The rash may appear in the form of hives. These are usually small clusters of red bumps that itch or burn.
Another of the more common latex allergy symptoms that occur on the skin is ‘contact dermatitis,’ which is a patch of dry itchy skin with no sign of bumps. This is usually minor and can often be treated with an allergy pill or topical antihistamine. It is important, though, to see an allergist or your doctor to determine the severity of your allergy and the proper course of treatment.
There are some minor respiratory symptoms of a latex allergy, such as a runny nose, sore throat, frequent sneezing or coughing. Over the counter drugs can treat these symptoms, but the best thing to do is eliminate your contact with latex products.
Serious Symptoms of a Latex Allergy
One serious symptom related to any allergy is angioedema. Angioedema is swelling of the tongue, lips, or face, sometimes to the point that breathing is inhibited. This requires immediate treatment, as it may affect the airway very rapidly and can result in suffocation if not treated soon enough.
Other more serious latex allergy symptoms include respiratory problems such as shortness of breath (which is a sign of angioedema), or asthma symptoms like severe wheezing or the inability to catch your breath.
Serious allergic reactions to latex can be life-threatening and should you experience any of them, you should immediately call 911.
Things to Avoid if You Have an Allergy to Latex
The most common things that contain latex are:
- Latex Gloves
- Condoms, diaphragms, and other contraceptives
- Bandaging materials like tape and adhesives
- Some glues
- Rubber bands
- Pacifiers and bottle nipples
Some weird things that can contain latex are:
- mouse pads
- sanitary napkins
- baby diapers
Also, it’s not only important to avoid touching latex, but also to avoid breathing in any dust or particles that might contain it.
Living with an Allergy to Latex
Having a latex allergy can be troublesome and even frightening, but there are things you can do to protect your health and enjoy life with less worry.
The most important step you can take is to discuss your concerns with an allergist or your regular doctor to determine what you need to do to keep yourself safe.