How Do I Know if I Am Allergic to Latex?

Friday, 19 Nov 2010 03:26 PM

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Natural latex is made from a liquid obtained from rubber trees. This particular liquid is used to make various rubber products such as rubber toys, balloons, rubber bands, condoms, gloves, and various  household items. A range of medical items are also made of latex. Even items such as elastic waist bands and television remote controls can be made of latex.
 
A person can declare with certainty that they are allergic to latex if they experience an allergic reaction after being in contact with latex. The common symptoms of latex allergy include chronic itching, redness, blisters that secrete a transparent liquid, swelling, crusting, and hives. These are less severe reactions, compared to severe allergic reactions such as extreme breathing difficulties, sneezing, and runny nose. Severe allergic reactions also include coughing, wheezing, itchy eyes, and a scratchy throat. The most extreme form of allergic reaction to latex involves a condition called anaphylaxis. Signs of anaphylaxis include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, breathing difficulties, a remarkable decrease in blood pressure, and confusion. Anaphylaxis, if left untreated, could lead to death.
 
The reason for latex allergy is uncertain, but it has been noticed that people who are routinely and regularly exposed to latex have higher chances of developing a latex allergy. Individuals who work in healthcare and rubber industries have significantly higher chances of developing anaphylaxis. Individuals with food allergies and spina bifida also suffer slightly higher risks of latex allergy. Also, people who have undergone multiple operations have higher risks of suffering from anaphylaxis.
 
The only way to know if an individual is suffering from a latex allergy is to try out latex and see if an allergic reaction manifests. The best way to do this is to buy a glove, place a finger in it, removed the finger after a minute, and look for the development of any rashes on the same spot. Noticeable changes could also be looked for after the use of condoms. If any sort of a reaction occurs on the penis, the individual may be suffering from a latex allergy.
 
The best way to avoid these situations and future allergic reactions is to avoid contact with latex. Patients who are allergic to latex should wear medical alert bracelets, so that medical personnel attending to them are aware of the situation. Medicines can also be used to combat this condition.

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