Aside from the common triggers of allergies such as pollen, pet dander and dust, some individuals are also allergic to certain materials and this includes latex. It is important to note that latex can trigger a life-threatening reaction among those who are highly sensitive to the material. The reaction can be minor but can also be life-threatening that emergency care is required. It is important that you know how to recognize the symptoms that can indicate sensitivity to latex.
Determine how latex is made
Latex is best described as a milk-like liquid that is produced by the tropical rubber trees. The protein found in natural latex can trigger asthma, rashes and even shock in extreme cases. Take note that a reaction can occur within minutes after exposure.
Determine the high-risk group for latex allergy
You have to figure out which high-risk group the individual belongs to.
- Healthcare workers who constantly use rubber gloves
- Employees in the rubber industry who are regularly exposed to products made out of rubber
- Individuals who have spina bifida as well as urinary tract disorders
- Individuals who have recurrent or prolonged exposure to products made out of latex
- Individuals who are allergic to foods such as avocados, bananas, kiwi, passion fruit, melons, tomatoes, celery and chestnuts. These foods resemble a protein element in latex.
Depending on the group where the individual belongs, it simply shows that those in the healthcare field as well as those working in factories where latex is used are constantly exposed to the substance.
Observe for the symptoms
The common symptoms that occur during an allergic reaction to latex include itchiness, rashes, eczema, cough, shortness of breath and swelling. The individual might be allergic to latex if these reactions occur right after using products made out of latex or when eating the foods stated. If the individual has suffered an allergic reaction without knowing the exact cause particularly during a medical procedure or dental examination, this can indicate an allergy.
Products that contain latex
There are various products at the present that are made out of latex that contain the material. The most common products include balloons, condoms and diaphragms, rubberized gloves, pacifiers, rubber bands, toys, adhesive tape, soles of shoes, bandages, sanitary pads and diapers. If the individual experiences the symptoms of an allergic reaction after these products are used, it clearly indicates latex allergy.
It is important to undergo testing in order to determine if the individual is actually allergic to latex. The doctor will perform a latex-specific allergy test or a skin prick test in order to confirm the allergy. If a skin prick test is performed, the allergen is introduced into the skin and if a rash develops, it indicates that the individual is allergic to latex.
Severe allergic reactions
In case the individual develops a severe allergic reaction after exposed to latex, it would require immediate medical care. If he/she has an EpiPen on hand, you can administer a shot on the thigh in order to counteract the symptoms until medical care can be provided.