Latex Allergy

Friday, November 01, 2013

Latex, also known as rubber or natural latex, is derived from the milky sap of the rubber tree. Latex allergy is an allergic reaction to substances in natural latex. Dr. Edward Hill discusses latex allergy in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Latex allergy is a reaction to certain proteins found in natural rubber latex. If you have a latex allergy, your body mistakes latex for a harmful substance.

Latex allergy can be mild, with symptoms such as itchy, red, watery eyes, sneezing or runny nose, coughing, rash or hives. It can also be very severe, with symptoms like chest tightness, shortness of breath and shock. The most serious allergic reaction to latex is anaphylactic response, which can be deadly.

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 by frequent hand washing, antiseptics, constant covering of the hands, or chemicals in gloves. Changing to non-latex gloves helps.

Although there is no treatment for latex allergy, you can reduce your risk of reaction by avoiding direct contact with latex. Take steps to find out which products in your environment contain latex and the substitutes you can use for those products.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.