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How Can I Tell if I am Allergic to Latex?

Latex exam gloves worn by health care professionals can cause a reaction in those who are allergic.
Allergic reactions to latex include sneezing.
Party balloons are most commonly made from latex.
A latex allergy may cause skin hives.
Latex allergy symptoms, which can be triggered by items such as latex condoms, can cause wheezing, hives, tearing of the eyes, nasal congestion and rash.
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  • Written By: K T Solis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2014
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A person can tell if she is allergic to latex if she experiences allergic reactions after being in contact with latex. Common symptoms include redness, chronic itching, swelling, blisters that secrete a transparent fluid, crusting, and hives. More severe allergic reactions can range from extreme breathing difficulties, a runny nose, sneezing, scratchy throat, itchy eyes, coughing, and wheezing.

The life-threatening condition anaphylaxis is another sign that a person is allergic to latex. Signs of this condition often include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, swelling, hives, breathing difficulties, a swift decrease in blood pressure, and shock. If anaphylaxis is left untreated, it can result in death. Anyone with signs of anaphylaxis should immediately be taken to the hospital emergency room.

Natural latex is made from a liquid in rubber trees located in Southeast Asia and Africa. This liquid is used to make various rubber products. A sample of items manufactured from latex are rubber toys, rubber bands, diapers, sanitary napkins, condoms, balloons, dishwashing gloves, and other basic household items. Medical and dental gloves, blood pressure cuffs, and other medical materials are also made from latex. Even items such as dolls, elastic waist bands, and television remote controls can all be manufactured from latex.

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No one knows exactly what causes someone to develop an allergy to latex, but latex allergies often appear in people who are routinely exposed to latex. For example, those who work in the healthcare and rubber industry fields have a high risk of becoming allergic to the material. People with spina bifida, food allergies, or who have undergone multiple operations can also be highly susceptible to latex allergies. People who suspect they may be allergic to latex should consult their doctor. Medications can be prescribed to alleviate symptoms; however, the best way to avoid an allergic reaction is to refrain from contact with latex.

People allergic to latex should learn which objects in their environment contain latex and find substitutes for those particular items. They should also avoid breathing in latex particles from items such as powdered gloves. It's important that a person allergic to latex wears a medical alert bracelet that warns medical professionals she has this particular condition.

Healthcare workers allergic to latex should only wear non-latex gloves. Co-workers should wear powder-free gloves or non-latex gloves as well. At this time, no medical treatments are able to desensitize people to the effects of latex. If someone experiences a reaction, she is often treated with steroids, antihistamines, and adrenaline.

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croydon
Post 4

It would be horrible to have the worst form of latex allergy. There are so many things that contain a little bit of latex. You'd have to carry allergy shots around with you all the time.

I know they use latex in clothing and rubber bands and cars for example. Apparently some fruits will also cause a reaction in people allergic to latex.

People always think of condoms first, but there are so many alternative options to latex condoms, they would be easy to avoid.

Other things in the world would not be so easy!

pastanaga
Post 3

I took a dissection class as part of my biology degree and we had to wear latex gloves with each class. One of the girls in the class developed the rash after the first day. It's lucky she didn't have a worse allergy as it took a while before she realized what was happening.

At first I thought we were just going to have to wear different gloves, because of course there was the risk of her inhaling the powder from the gloves.

But, she actually dropped the class, so nothing changed. I always wondered what the university would have done though, as I don't think they stock any other kind of glove.

SZapper
Post 2

@indemnifyme - That's actually really funny! What a way to discover an allergy.

I actually know a few people who are allergic to latex. It makes a lot of sense though. So many things are made with latex. And if being exposed to latex a lot can cause a latex allergy, no wonder so many people have them.

indemnifyme
Post 1

My sister is allergic to latex. She found out in a pretty embarrassing way too! I don't think I need to totally spell it out, but let me just say that she thought she had an STD. She and her boyfriend almost broke up over it!

When she actually went to the doctor, the doctor explained to her that what she was experiencing was an allergic reaction to latex. My sister was very, very relieved.

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