What are the symptoms of a mild and severe latex glove allergy

Less than 1% of the general population is allergic to latex, however certain people are at increased risk of developing latex allergy, including children with neural tube defects (such as spina bifida) or other congenital abnormalities requiring repeated surgery or catheterisation, and health care professionals who are exposed to latex in the workplace. The incidence of latex allergy is increasing along with the increasing frequency of allergies across the board.


How is it Diagnosed

Diagnosis of latex allergy is largely made on clinical history. Some significant aspects of the history include:

Background history of atopic disorders such as asthma, eczema or allergic rhinitisAllergy invesigations that are available include radioimmunosorbent testing (RAST), skin-prick testing and provocation tests, where exposure to latex is deliberate (such as wearing latex gloves).

However, these investigations are generally not useful or necessary. The accuracy of both RAST and skin-prick testing is still controversial, and serious reactions own occurred with both skin-prick and provocation testing for latex allergy. Therefore the diagnosis of latex allergy is generally made on a excellent history.

Risk Factors

Most people with latex allergy own had frequent exposure to latex over a number of years. Most of these people are nurses, doctors, dentists or other health professionals who are exposed to latex in the workplace, or patients who own had multiple operations or other medical interventions (such as urinary catheterisations or diagnostic procedures), including children with spina bifida or other congenital defects such as renal abnormalities.

People who are already allergic to other substances (for example, grass pollen or dust mite) are more likely to become allergic to latex.



Topic Overview

What increases the risk of latex allergy?

People who own allergies to foods, such as bananas, chestnuts, kiwi fruit, avocados, and tomatoes, own an increased risk of developing latex allergy. People with latex allergies may develop allergies to these foods because the protein in these foods is similar to the protein in rubber. Latex allergies are also more common in people who own a history of atopic dermatitis, a skin condition that causes intense itching and a red, raised rash.

How is latex allergy diagnosed?

Latex allergy is diagnosed with a thorough medical history, physical examination, and tests.

Tests may include a blood test to detect latex antibodies and glove-use tests and skin tests to detect an adverse reaction to latex exposure. Glove-use tests and skin tests should always be done by doctors who are experienced and equipped to reply to a serious reaction.

What is latex allergy?

Latex is natural rubber, a product made primarily from the rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis. Some people develop allergic reactions after repeated contact with latex, especially latex gloves.

Allergy to latex is an increasing health problem.

Who is affected by latex allergy?

Latex allergy generally affects people who are routinely exposed to rubber products, such as health care workers and rubber industry workers, and people who own had multiple surgeries or multiple medical procedures in which latex equipment and supplies were used.

Where is latex likely to be encountered?

Medical products that may contain latex include:

  1. Gloves.
  2. Drains, tourniquets, urinary catheters, and wraps.
  3. Adhesives used for dressings and tapes.

Personal or household products that may contain latex include:

  1. Pacifiers and baby bottle nipples.
  2. Rubber bands.
  3. Contraceptives, such as condoms or diaphragms.
  4. Diapers and sanitary pads.
  5. Balloons and rubber toys.
  6. Computer mouse pads.

What are the symptoms?

Latex reactions can vary from minor to life-threatening, or they may progress from a less serious reaction to a more serious one.

Examples include:

  1. Skin reactions such as contact dermatitis, hives, or generalized itching.
  2. Respiratory reactions. A person who is having a mild respiratory reaction may sneeze, cough, or own a runny nose. A person who is having a severe respiratory reaction may develop shortness of breath from swelling of the throat (angioedema) or severe wheezing (allergic asthma).
  3. Life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). For more information, see the Check Your Symptoms section of the topic Allergic Reaction.

How is it treated?

Some medicines may assist reduce the allergy symptoms, but finish latex avoidance, though hard, is the most effective treatment.

Serious reactions may need to be treated in a hospital emergency department.

If you own had a previous serious reaction to latex, you should carry and know how to give yourself a shot of epinephrine.

How can I avoid using products containing latex if I own a known latex allergy?

  1. Avoid any skin contact with latex products. Health care workers should use hypoallergenic non-latex gloves.
  2. Avoid breathing the air where powdered latex gloves are being used. The latex particles in the gloves stick to the cornstarch used to powder the gloves. When the cornstarch flies through the air, it can be inhaled, causing a lung reaction.


Progression

Most people with latex allergy own been exposed to latex over several years.

What are the symptoms of a mild and severe latex glove allergy

With the exception of gloves and balloons, most latex products in daily life do not contain enough allergen to cause significant problems.
Almost half of people with a latex allergy will also develop an allergy to certain fruits, most commonly avocado, banana or kiwi fruit. They will often get itching and/or swelling in the mouth and throat after eating these fruits.


Credits

Current as ofJune 27, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP — Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD — Family Medicine
Martin J.

Gabica, MD — Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD — Family Medicine
H. Michael O’Connor, MD, MMEd, FRCPC — Emergency Medicine

Natural rubber latex comes from a liquid in tropical rubber trees. This liquid is processed to make numerous of the following rubber products used at home and at work:

  1. rubber toys
  2. adhesive tape and bandages
  3. balloons
  4. waistbands on clothing
  5. rubber bands
  6. dishwashing gloves
  7. pacifiers and baby-bottle nipples
  8. diapers and sanitary pads
  9. condoms.

In addition, numerous medical and dental supplies contain latex, including:

  1. urinary catheters
  2. tourniquets
  3. gloves
  4. blood pressure cuffs
  5. dental dams and material used to fill root canals
  6. equipment for resuscitation.

You can discover non-latex substitutes for every of these latex-containing items.

The protein in rubber can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

This reaction can range from sneezing to anaphylactic shock. This type of shock is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

The thin, stretchy latex rubber in gloves, condoms, and balloons is high in this protein. It causes more allergic reactions than products made of hard latex rubber (such as tires). Some latex gloves are coated with cornstarch powder. Latex protein particles can stick to the cornstarch and fly into the air when the gloves are taken off. In places where gloves are being put on and removed frequently, the air may contain numerous latex particles.

Natural latex is a specific helpful of rubber that has been manufactured from the sap of the rubber tree.

Latex is used in the manufacture of a large number of consumer products.

Natural rubber latex products

What are latex allergy symptoms?

In most cases, latex allergy develops after numerous previous exposures to latex. Latex allergy symptoms may include hives, itching, stuffy or runny nose. It can cause asthma symptoms of wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. Symptoms start within minutes after exposure to latex containing products. The most severe latex allergy can result in anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction involving severe breathing difficulty and/or drop in blood pressure (shock).

Allergic skin problems can happen following direct contact with allergic latex proteins in latex glove products.

Symptoms may include immediate itching, redness and swelling of skin that touched the item containing latex. These and other latex allergic reactions are less common now. Numerous hospitals or doctors’ offices own switched to non-latex gloves or low protein latex gloves.

A second type of skin allergy called “allergic contact dermatitis” may be caused by chemicals used to manufacture rubber gloves.

This dermatitis is recognized by the eczema and blisters on the back of the hands.

What are the symptoms of a mild and severe latex glove allergy

It resembles a poison ivy rash, and begins 1 to 3 days after wearing rubber gloves.

Direct physical contact with latex products is not needed to trigger an allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis and severe asthmatic reactions own been caused by inhaling latex proteins in the air resulting from the powder in the latex glove.

Credits

Current as ofJune 27, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP — Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD — Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD — Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD — Family Medicine
H. Michael O’Connor, MD, MMEd, FRCPC — Emergency Medicine

Natural rubber latex comes from a liquid in tropical rubber trees.

This liquid is processed to make numerous of the following rubber products used at home and at work:

  1. rubber toys
  2. adhesive tape and bandages
  3. balloons
  4. waistbands on clothing
  5. rubber bands
  6. dishwashing gloves
  7. pacifiers and baby-bottle nipples
  8. diapers and sanitary pads
  9. condoms.

In addition, numerous medical and dental supplies contain latex, including:

  1. urinary catheters
  2. tourniquets
  3. gloves
  4. blood pressure cuffs
  5. dental dams and material used to fill root canals
  6. equipment for resuscitation.

You can discover non-latex substitutes for every of these latex-containing items.

The protein in rubber can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

This reaction can range from sneezing to anaphylactic shock.

What are the symptoms of a mild and severe latex glove allergy

This type of shock is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

The thin, stretchy latex rubber in gloves, condoms, and balloons is high in this protein. It causes more allergic reactions than products made of hard latex rubber (such as tires). Some latex gloves are coated with cornstarch powder. Latex protein particles can stick to the cornstarch and fly into the air when the gloves are taken off. In places where gloves are being put on and removed frequently, the air may contain numerous latex particles.

Natural latex is a specific helpful of rubber that has been manufactured from the sap of the rubber tree. Latex is used in the manufacture of a large number of consumer products.

What is latex allergy?

The protein in latex rubber causes allergic reactions in some people.

The thin, stretchy rubber in gloves, condoms and balloons is high in this protein, which means these items cause more reactions than products made of hard rubber, such as tyres.

Products made from rubber latex generally contain a number of chemicals, and some people are not so much allergic to the rubber but the synthetic chemicals found in it. Because people can be allergic to diverse natural or synthetic materials in rubber, we speak of latex allergies generally, but those affected should attempt to identify the specific components involved in their reactions.

When a latex-allergic person touches rubber, his or her body thinks the rubber is trying to attack it and perceives it as foreign.

The immune system launches a counter-attack that can cause a host of unpleasant and, in some cases, life-threatening symptoms.

Who is at risk?

Latex products are everywhere, and anyone can become allergic to it.

What are the symptoms of a mild and severe latex glove allergy

Healthcare workers who frequently use latex gloves and constantly touch products containing latex are at higher risk than average, as are people with medical conditions that require frequent procedures or surgery.

Those who work in manufacturing of latex products are also at greater risk, as well as children with congenital neurological abnormalities such as spina bifida and people with bladder problems. It is estimated that up to 65 per cent of American children with spina bifida own latex allergy.

Other risks pinpointed by medical experts are less defined but include a history of hay fever, a history of food allergies to tropical fruits, hazelnuts, chestnuts or rock fruits, or hand dermatitis that is severe.

What are the symptoms?

Latex allergy often begins with a rash on the hands following use of rubber gloves, but can also manifest itself through respiratory distress, eczema or oedema.

Other signs include hay fever, itchy and swollen eyes, a runny nose and sneezing following latex exposure. Some patients can develop asthma symptoms such as chest tightness, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.

Other symptoms can include rashes, swelling, facial flushing or hives, rapid breathing, anxiety and confusion, feeling faint or shock.

Some people who work in latex gloves get bumps, sores, cracks or red raised areas on their hands over days or weeks. These reactions can be caused from frequent hand washing, antiseptics, constant covering of the hands or chemicals, and are not related to latex allergy.

Can it be fatal?

While it is extremely unusual, some individuals can suffer a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis when they come into contact with latex rubber.

This can happen in the mouth when blowing up a balloon, undergoing dental surgery, using a condom, during a rectal or colon examination or via catheterisation.

Anaphylactic shock occurs within minutes and is characterised by generalised hives, breathing difficulties and low blood pressure.

Can food allergies be involved?

Yes, they can. Numerous of the proteins that cause latex allergy are found in fruit, vegetables, nuts and cereals. This phenomenon is known as 'cross-reactivity'. Kiwifruit, passionfruit, cherries, potatoes, paw-paw, papaya, banana, avocado, fig, peaches, nectarines, plums, tomatoes, celery and chestnuts are every foods that can sometimes be linked with latex allergy.

If you own a latex allergy, you don't own to avoid every of the foods that can potentially cross-react with latex — only those cause an allergic reaction for you.

Dr Vincent St Aubyn Crump, from Auckland Allergy Clinic gives a further insight into some of the idiosyncrasies of fruit, latex and birch pollen cross-reactions.

In my practice, I own seen several patients with kiwifruit allergy. Every the patients I've seen with kiwifruit allergy were allergic to birch pollen and get birch pollen hay fever. Every the patients I see own a positive skin test to the unused kiwifruit. The commercial extracts for fruits are renowned for being unreliable (giving untrue negative results) because of the short shelf life.

About half of the patients I see with kiwifruit allergy own systemic reactions (anaphylaxis) to kiwifruit and most of these will get oral allergy syndrome (itching and swelling in the mouth and throat). The other half will get the oral allergy syndrome only. A few of them will be positive to latex, but only one of my patients, from memory, has clinical latex allergy.

I tell every my patients with kiwifruit fruit allergy to reduce latex exposure, especially if they are atopic or allergic, as this makes them a high risk for latex allergy.

I offer desensitisation to birch to every of them, as the literature shows improvement in kiwifruit allergy after immunotherapy to birch.

I own not rechallenged any of my patients, so can't comment on the improvement of kiwifruit allergy after this desensitisation.

Often these patients with kiwifruit allergy are allergic to apple and hazelnut as well.

Am I likely to grow out of it?

No treatment is yet available to 'cure' a latex allergy. So far the best treatment is to avoid exposure to latex, in tandem with using medications to temporarily alleviate symptoms.

Latex allergies can, however, get worse.

There is evidence to propose that the more you are exposed, the more allergic you become.

How is latex allergy diagnosed?

Swelling and itching after medical examinations, contact with rubber gloves, mouth discomfort after blowing up a balloon or undergoing a dental examination are every signs of latex allergy. Itching in the mouth and throat after eating banana, chestnuts or avocados is sometimes a signal that a latex allergy exists.

See a doctor if you suspect latex allergy, preferably one with experience in allergies.

Your doctor will take a detailed history, and may confirm the diagnosis with a blood test. Skin testing is another option, but because it involves a little exposure to latex, most doctors prefer the risk-free blood test as a first step.

What about other warning signs?

Other warning signs include hives under rubber gloves, hand dermatitis related to gloves, allergic conjunctivitis after rubbing eyes with a recently degloved hand, vaginal burning after pelvic exams or contact with condom, and occupational asthma.

What precautions should latex-allergic people take?

  1. Discuss your allergy with your employer if you work in a high latex exposure area and suffer from skin, hayfever or asthma symptoms.
  2. Warn doctors and dentists of your allergy to latex before any examinations or procedures.
  3. In addition, if your allergy is severe:
  4. Carry an adrenaline kit with you at every times, making certain the needle protector and syringe stopper are not made of latex.
  5. If you can't avoid latex exposure, make certain you carry medicine you can take to reduce allergy symptoms.
  6. Don't be bashful — make your allergy known to family, friends, employers and co-workers.
  7. When travelling, carry a variety of non-latex sterile gloves in case of emergency medical or dental work.
  8. Obtain and wear a MedicAlert bracelet.
  9. Avoid every contact with natural latex products
  10. Avoid eating bananas, avocados and any other fruit if these cause allergic symptoms, such as oral itching, swelling, hives or shortness of breath.

If you are allergic to the everyday items that contain latex, don't despair.

There are alternatives now available, such as polyurethane condoms, and powder-free latex or non-latex gloves.

What are the symptoms of a mild and severe latex glove allergy

See the table under for more ideas.

Substitutes

For babies Pacifiers, feeding nipples Silicone products
For school and office Erasers, craft supplies, make-up and Halloween masks, adhesives Look for products labelled 'vinyl' or 'silicone'
Clothing Elastic fabric, diapers, underwear Many elastic fabrics are not rubber (for instance 'Spandex' and 'Lycra') but elastic webbing often contains rubber
Housework Cleaning gloves Gloves are a major source of exposure because they are in direct contact with the skin for a endless time and may give off an allergic dust — use nitrile, neoprene, vinyl or copolymer gloves.
Toys and Sporting Goods Balloons, Koosh balls, rubber ducks, soccer balls, volleyballs, coated or taped racquet handles Mylar (foil type) balloons, leather balls
Furnishings Rubber mats, carpet backing, foam rubber Rubber mats, carpet backing, foam rubber Most foam rubber is poly-urethane foam and will not cause problems
Medical Products

Condoms, female condoms, diaphragms

Medical gloves, dental dams
First-aid tape, bandages

Synthetic rubber or natural membrane condoms

Synthetic rubber or natural membrane condoms

As with household gloves above, use only gloves made with synthetic materials

Only some brands contain natural rubber latex

No latex is allowed in the children's wards of numerous hospitals.

Some will let you decorate a waiting room or the "Day room", but none of the patient's rooms.

What are the symptoms of a mild and severe latex glove allergy

And no balloons at every in ICU'S. Latex balloons are the leading cause of paediatric choking deaths in the US. An increasing number of patients and staff own developed an allergy to latex. Symptoms of latex allergy may be mild or severe and range from hives and swelling to respiratory failure. Mylar/Foil balloons will only be accepted in numerous hospitals.

What triggers the allergic reaction to latex?

When people with latex allergy come into direct contact with latex, an allergic reaction may follow.

Common examples include:

  1. A medical or dental procedure conducted by health care workers wearing natural rubber latex gloves
  2. Blowing up a rubber balloon

What foods are potential problems for people with latex allergy?

If you own latex allergy you also can own food allergies. The foods most likely to cause this problem include: apple, avocado, banana, carrot, celery, chestnut, kiwi, melons, papaya, raw potato and tomato.

Irritant dermatitis is a non-allergic skin rash characterised by redness, dryness, scaling, vesicle formation and cracking.

These changes are caused by sweating or irritation of the glove with the powder residue, or from irritation from frequent washing, soaps and detergents.

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