If you’ve experienced skin inflammation, rash, or hives after coming into contact with latex, you may have discovered an allergy you have. In some cases, the symptoms can be even worse with swelling, trouble breathing, and hayfever-like symptoms. Depending on the exact symptoms, most of the time, a latex allergy can be diagnosed by a doctor through physical examination and a patient history. If you believe you have a latex allergy, you can also conduct your own experiment by avoiding latex and seeing if the problems go away. That said, if you have trouble avoiding this material and/or if you have a stronger allergic reaction, it’s a good idea to get an affirmative diagnosis and consultation from a doctor.
Different Types of Latex Allergy Testing
While the skin prick allergy test is the most common for diagnosing latex allergies, it’s not the only option. An intradermal injection of the allergen can provide additional information. Moreover, these types of skin allergy tests may be used to confirm the presence of a latex allergy, while other types of tests identify more potential allergens and their relative severity. This happens more often than you may think. It’s not uncommon to have an allergy to both latex and nickel. It’s not uncommon to have a mild sensitivity to latex as well as atopic dermatitis that in combination can wreak havoc on your skin.
If you continue to experience contact dermatitis or allergy symptoms in the absence of latex, it may be necessary to talk to a local dermatologist who can conduct widespread diagnosis of skin allergies through allergy patch testing. An increasingly strong reaction to repeated exposure to latex is common, but if there is a sudden change in your allergic reaction, follow-up testing may again be warranted.
Truthfully, there is no such thing as a textbook case of latex allergies. Mild cases may cause barely noticeable skin irritation that goes undiagnosed for years and are more accurately described as a latex sensitivity. Mild-to-moderate latex allergies may cause immediate hives, itching, and nasal congestion. A severe latex allergy may cause difficulty breathing and anaphylactic shock that can be life-threatening in some cases.
Diagnosing a Latex Allergy is the Treatment
Even when a primary care doctor or dermatologist is pretty sure you have a latex allergy, they may still order some type of allergy testing. They do this because in many ways accurately diagnosing the presence and severity of the condition is the treatment for latex allergy. There is no cure, but one solution is to avoid latex altogether. If that’s not possible, there are some medications that can reduce the severity of the reaction. For those with the most severe latex allergies, it may be necessary to carry an epinephrine shot. That said, only by confirming what symptoms are triggered by a latex allergy can you hope to properly balance your exposure to latex with the disruption to your career or other regular activities.