Categories
My Blog

Experiencing the Doctor’s Office with a Latex Allergy

If your child has a documented latex allergy, then every time they enter a medical environment, you should ensure that the environment is as LATEX-SAFE as possible. You should, when possible, inform the doctor or dentist at least 24 hours prior to your visit of your child’s problem. 

This gives them the opportunity to order medication for your child, and to clean the environment of latex residue. If they use latex gloves on other patients, your child should be the first case of the day, or the week, if possible. It is not good practice to use latex gloves in one room when you are treating a latex allergic patient in another. 

If the health care provider does not take the problem seriously, find one who does take it seriously. 

Visiting the Hospital 

The hospital is the most dangerous place a latex-allergic individual can visit. To treat a latex allergic patient, the hospital must be able to provide a LATEX-SAFE environment. This requires that they have LATEX-SAFE protocols and procedures in place, and doctors who take the problem seriously. If they are unable to document that they are LATEX-SAFE, avoid them unless it is an emergency. 

Treatment 

There is no cure for latex allergy. If someone is in a high-risk group, they can prevent the development of latex allergy by avoiding latex products in all areas of their lives. If they have already developed latex allergy, avoidance may lessen the degree of disease they develop. 

If your child is in a high-risk group, you must not allow latex medical products to be used on them, and you and your child must practice latex avoidance. 

Treatment of reactions requires removal of the offending latex, and drug treatment according to the type of symptoms developing. Your child must wear a Medic Alert bracelet & Carry an emergency epinephrine syringe, Epi-pen. 

Categories
My Blog

Latex Allergy Basics – What You Need to Know

What is a Latex Allergy? 

Latex is the natural sap of the rubber tree (Hevea Brasiliensis). It is used to make natural rubber, which is used in the production of forty thousand industrial products used in the USA. About four hundred of these products are used on a routine basis in hospitals. Latex products contain two types of compounds that cause medical problems: added chemicals such as antioxidants, which cause dermatitis, either irritant or Type IV reactions, and natural proteins, which cause systemic potentially life-threatening allergic reactions (Type I reactions). 

Symptoms include: dermatitis, rashes, hives, hayfever-like symptoms, swelling, asthma and in rare cases collapse. 

Who Is at Risk? 

Patients, especially special needs children, who have multiple repeated exposures to latex, usually through mucosal exposure, are at the highest risk for developing latex allergy. The Spina Bifida Association of America and the FDA estimate that as many as 65% of children with spina bifida, already have latex allergy. Lesser incidences, but still above 25%, occur in all patients with spinal injuries, children with multiple congenital defects, especially urinary tract defects and any child that has had three or more surgeries (33%). These incidences have risen alarmingly over the last 5 years and continue to rise. 

Diagnosis 

The diagnosis of latex allergy is made by a combination of history and tests. If you suspect that your child has latex allergy, you and your child need to be seen by an allergist who is experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of latex allergy. Many allergists use the skin test, but sufferers of latex allergy prefer to start with the blood test. The blood test is risk free and almost as reliable as the skin test. Listen carefully to your child. We know of one case where a three-year-old child refused to enter the ladies’ hairdressers, but would enter the barber shop. He had latex allergy and realized he was reacting to the latex gloves used in the ladies’ shop! 

Food Allergies 

Many of the proteins that cause latex allergy are also found in fruit, vegetables, nuts and cereals. Kiwi, passion fruit, cherries, papaya, banana, avocado, fig, peaches, nectarines, plums, tomato, celery and chestnuts.