There are many things that a latex allergy sufferer should avoid and some of these things are: balloons, latex gloves, certain medical syringes, elastic bands and latex condoms.
Certain foods, particularly fruits, contain latex which can set off reactions. Bananas, especially, are recommended to be avoided as well as pineapple, mango and kiwi fruit. Six percent of the United States population has a type of food allergy and as much as four percent of those have a latex allergy from the foods they are allergic to. It is estimated that over eight percent of the world’s population have an allergy to latex.
There are two types of latex allergies: Type 1 and Type IV.
Type 1 is the most severe and has the ability to threaten a person’s life. A person with Type 1 will have a reaction to latex straight away and can go into, what is called, anaphylactic shock. This is when the blood pressure drops to dangerous levels and can cause difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness.
Itching on or around the face, sneezing and runny nose are common symptoms when a person with Type 1 latex allergy has a reaction.
It is very important for Type 1 sufferers to stay away from latex material as much as they can throughout the course of their lives!
Type 1 sufferers can also experience severe reactions if they are in an environment that contains latex, such as being in a hospital ward that contains a box of latex gloves.
They also have to be vigilant that they do not touch a person or another item that has already made contact with latex.
It is important that a person, who does not suffer a latex allergy, washes their hands before making physical contact with a patient who does.
Type IV’s symptoms are usually delayed and the sufferer is usually quite sensitive to the chemicals used to make the latex gloves. Chemicals such as emulsifiers, antioxidants and fragrances all have the ability to cause a reaction and they will usually cause a skin reaction anywhere between twenty four and forty eight hours after contact has been made to the chemicals.
Symptoms such as skin rash will usually disappear on their own after a certain short period of time.
Type IV sufferers must take care not to come into contact with these chemicals often as they can also develop a Type 1 allergy.
Your doctor will ask you about your life history, and whether your occupation, if you have one, involves coming into contact with latex on a regular basis.
A few tests can be peformed to determine if one has a latex allergy.
One in particular is called a ‘skin prick’.
This is the process of injecting latex proteins into a wound caused by a puncture, or a scratch. This is normally performed on the back or arm of a patient.
Normally, within approximately fifteen minutes, a small welt will appear as a result of the contact of the latex proteins, confirming the latex allergy.
Other tests such as the ‘skin patch’ actually use an item that consists of latex and this is applied to the patient’s skin. The reaction may or may not be immediate and will confirm whether the allergy is a Type 1 or Type IV.