Facts to Know About Allergies to Latex and How to Protect Yourself

latex gloves on table

You wouldn’t think that latex production was a particularly large industry. However, over 12 million tons of rubber latex is produced annually around the world. 

If you have a latex allergy, this wouldn’t escape your attention. Knowing whether a product contains latex or not can be a matter of life or death. While some people may only experience itchy skin, the consequences for other people who suffer from latex allergies can be fatal. 

And yet, this fact is made worse by the lack of labels on numerous products which contain latex. As a result, it can be almost impossible to ensure that you avoid latex products if you have an allergy to it.

Whether you have an allergy to latex or you know someone who does, read on below for facts to know about an allergy to latex and how to protect yourself. Let’s get started!

1. Latex Comes From Natural Rubber 

What do you think of when you hear latex? You probably think of condoms and rubber gloves. But, have you ever stopped to wonder where it comes from?

Latex is actually the protein in sap which is produced from rubber trees. It is also the term for the “natural rubber products” which are produced from sap. This ingredient is contained in a wide variety of products. 

2. Latex Is in Lots of Items

You may not think that many household items have latex in them. And yet, you’d be shocked by how common latex is. Check out the list below:

  • Rubber bands 
  • Rubber gloves
  • Condoms
  • Spandex
  • Bandages 
  • Balloons
  • Some carpets 
  • Rubber toys
  • Hot water bottles
  • Erasers
  • Goggles for swimming
  • Hand grips on bikes
  • Syringes 
  • Surgical masks

There are many more household products which could contain latex. From the balloons you blow up to celebrate your kid’s birthday to the rubber gloves you wash the dishes with.

If you have an allergy to latex, you should never risk coming into contact with any of the above. They need to be avoided at all costs!

3. Many Foods Also Contain Latex 

Latex isn’t only restricted to household products. You can also find latex in the following foods:

  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Carrots
  • Chestnuts
  • Kiwis
  • Passion fruits
  • Melons
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes

You may not be allergic to any of the above foods. And yet, if you are, the consequences could be extremely harmful to your health.

4. Just 6% of People Have the Latex Allergy

You may not think that six percent sounds like many.

However, if you are one of the unlucky few, a common household item may be seriously harmful to you.

Moreover, this is actually more than 19 million Americans.

5. Some People are Higher Risk Than Others

Even though only 6 percent of the population suffer from latex allergies, some people are higher risk than others.

This is because people who are exposed to latex more frequently are particularly vulnerable to the development of the condition.

People with spina bifida are born with a defect which affects the development of the spine. Because of this, they undergo intense healthcare from an early age. This exposure to latex can cause problems.

Anyone who is frequently receiving medical treatment or surgery could also be vulnerable to the latex allergy from extended exposure. 

People who are exposed to latex frequently as a result of their occupation are also high risk. These include healthcare workers and rubber industry employees. In fact, healthcare workers have a rate of almost ten percent with the latex allergy. 

Lastly, anyone who has a family or personal history of developing many kinds of allergies is potentially at risk of the latex allergy as well. 

6. Symptoms Can Appear Minor at First

The symptoms of latex allergy can differ from person to person. There are some mild symptoms which usually emerge during initial contact with latex.

This includes symptoms such as itchy skin or even the outbreak of hives. However, these symptoms can worsen quickly.

7. Symptoms Could Get Worse Over Time

Sufferers of the latex allergy may experience only minor symptoms. But, they may also experience many common cold symptoms. These include the following:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throats
  • Itchy eyes
  • Some trouble with breathing. 

However, even these symptoms only worsen with repeated exposure to latex.

8. A Latex Allergy Can be Deadly

Even though most sufferers of the latex allergy only experience minor symptoms initially, exposure over a period of time can cause anaphylaxis.

What is anaphylaxis? It is a potentially life-threatening condition, also known as anaphylactic shock. 

In addition to the above symptoms, signs of anaphylaxis are the following:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Fall in blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing  

If you have a latex allergy and display some (or all) of these symptoms, you need to seek medical attention immediately.

If you suspect that you may be showing some of the less severe symptoms of a latex allergy, you may need to consult your doctor.  If it is possible, speak to your doctor while you’re currently experiencing the symptoms. This could help your doctor diagnose you.

9. You Can Replace Latex Products With Safe Alternatives 

If you have a latex allergy, you need to avoid many items and foods.

You also need to consistently check labels and inquire about whether a product contains latex or not.

If you want to find out more about replacement gloves or delicious fruits that are always latex safe, you need to do some research.

Allergy to Latex and How to Protect Yourself

Now you know the potentially harmful consequences caused by an allergy to latex and how to protect yourself.

The condition may only cause itchy skin initially. However, this can rapidly escalate to a deadly anaphylactic shock.

If you found this article interesting and helpful, you should read similar articles on our website.