Latex allergy can be mild to severe. The person with latex allergy may experience itchy, red, and watery eyes, sneezing or runny nose, rashes or hives [Hives Treatment], shortness of breath, chest tightness, shock, or cough.
Since latex products can find everywhere, any person can become sensitized to latex.
People who are at high risk for latex allergy are health care workers and rubber industry workers.
Especially, health care workers with hay fever have high chances of having latex allergy.
Also, people with many surgeries especially during their childhood and people with spina bifida and urological problems are at high risk of having latex allergy.
Although there are limited evaluations to confirm latex allergy, it include commercial blood RAST test for IgE and non-approved latex skin tests.
There are some food proteins similar to proteins in rubber such as banana, avocado, tomato, and kiwi fruit. These foods, which contain proteins similar to rubber, can cause allergic reaction in those who are allergic to latex.
Also a recent research examined whether latex allergens can transfer from wrappers of the food into the food and cause allergic reaction.
For instance, rubber bands, meat netting, fruits and vegetables stickers, and bakery release film are the sources of transfer of latex allergens into the food.
In the study, rubber bands, meat netting, and fruits and vegetables stickers demonstrated low level of latex proteins. However, bakery release film produced much higher levels.
The level of latex proteins transferred from food wrappers is so small. On the other hand, the study also demonstrated that latex proteins are transferred from latex gloves to food.
People who are industrial workers or healthcare workers with ongoing exposure to natural rubber latex should take certain precautions to protect themselves from latex allergy. They include:
- Using non-latex gloves during activities.
- If wearing latex gloves, not using oil-based lotions or hand-creams.
- When using latex gloves, using powder-free gloves with reduced protein content, as barrier protection is essential when handling infectious material.
- Changing the vacuum bags and ventilation filters regularly, which are used in latex contaminated areas.
- Cleaning work areas regularly that are contaminated with latex dust.
- Knowing the symptoms of latex allergy such as skin rashes, itching, hives, eye, nasal, and sinus symptoms, etc.
- If there is any suspicion of having latex allergy, avoid getting in contact with latex products until seen by an experienced physician in latex allergy treatment.
People who have natural rubber latex allergy should take necessary measures to protect themselves. These include:
- It is necessary to consult the physician with regard to taking necessary precautions.
- Avoiding contact with latex gloves and latex products is must.
- Wearing medical alert bracelet.
- Avoiding areas where there is a danger of inhaling the powder from latex gloves.
- Participating all latex allergy education programs and training provided for latex allergy people.
Since there is no treatment for this latex allergy, avoiding direct contact with latex can reduce the risk of reaction from latex. So, taking necessary measures helps other not to become allergic to latex.