Latex allergies are relatively common allergies that leave us allergic to many rubber products which include latex in their creation. Latex comes from the havea brasiliensis tree and is found in all kinds of everyday items from shoes to elastic bands. It is also common in the health care industry and is found in rubber gloves as well as much equipment – making it crucial that you inform you medical health experts of any such condition if you are aware of one.
However in order to recognise the existence of a latex allergy, it is necessary to first be able to spot the symptoms. There are two types of latex allergies each with slightly different symptoms, both of which we will examine below.
Note: Many items that claim to be ‘latex based’ in fact use a synthetic form of latex that does not cause allergic reactions in those with allergies to latex from the havea brasiliensis tree.
Delayed Latex Allergy: In a delayed latex allergy, the individual will feel the symptoms of their allergy 12 to 24 hours after exposure. This can make it difficult to recognise, but it is important to think about all the things you have been doing in the last 24 hours to try and identify the source of your reaction. The symptoms will then be itchy red skin and mild swelling and will be confined to the site of contact.
Immediate Latex Allergy: This form of latex allergy will of course occur immediately following exposure and results in hives, redness and swelling either at the point of contact or all over the body, coupled with difficulty breathing and wheezing. In extreme situations it might result in anaphylactic shock wherein the individual’s organs will shut down. This is a highly dangerous condition and it is vital to get immediate medical attention in the case of anaphylaxis.
There are some other signs of latex allergy. Notably many people who suffer from a latex allergy will also experience the ‘oral allergy syndrome’. Here they may notice that they get an itching and swelling in the mouth in response to eating certain foods such as bananas, melons, kiwi, chestnuts and avocado. Normally the symptoms are mild and will last for little more than five minutes, but they can be more severe in a few cases. This is because those foods include proteins that are very similar to those found in latex. Sufferers will not always experience this however.