Latex allergy is an uncommon condition that arises if exposed to natural latex rubber products. There is an abnormal immune response upon exposure.
It is important to note that natural latex is a polymer made from the natural rubber sap, resin, water and other chemical composites. It is flexible in nature and utilized in the hospital products, toys and textiles such as medical tubing, hand gloves, condoms, balloons, handbags and erasers.
Exposure can occur from direct contact. In a severe form, it might also be triggered by inhaling the latex powder dust. A reaction can occur right away or after a few hours of exposure.
What are the indications
The signs of latex allergy might manifest within a few minutes or hours after exposure. Depending on the sensitivity level and degree of exposure, the symptoms range from minor to severe.
The usual signs that might manifest include:
- Skin itchiness
- Runny or stuffed nose
- Hives, skin rashes or eczema
- Sneezing and coughing
- Shortness of breath and wheezing
- Throat irritation
- Eye redness, irritation and watery drainage
Management of latex allergy
The treatment for latex allergy generally includes:
- Avoid any product made of natural rubber latex. The synthetic variants might be suitable alternatives.
- If exposure occurs, cleanse the exposed site right away with water.
- Application of an anti-itch, over-the-counter creams that contain hydrocortisone for relief to the pain and itchiness.
- Anti-allergy drugs can be given for minor reactions.
- The symptomatic treatment involves steroid sprays and decongestants.
- Epinephrine is used in case of anaphylaxis.
- For the asthma symptoms and low blood pressure, breathing support might be required.
- Immunotherapy might be suggested for severe allergies to establish long-term tolerance to the allergen.