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Dandelion Fields

Latex Allergies

Latex allergies are immune system reactions triggered by proteins found in natural rubber latex. Latex is commonly used in medical gloves, balloons, rubber bands, condoms, and various healthcare and household products. Allergic reactions to latex can range from mild to severe and can occur through direct skin contact, inhalation, or ingesting latex-containing products.

Symptoms of latex allergies may include: 

  1. Skin reactions: Redness, itching, hives, or rash at the site of contact.

  2. Respiratory issues: Sneezing, runny nose, coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath.

  3. Anaphylaxis: Severe and potentially life-threatening symptoms like difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, drop in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness.

 

Maryland Allergy and Asthma Center offers specialized testing and treatment for latex allergies. Diagnosis of latex allergies typically involves:

  1. Medical history review: Discuss symptoms, potential latex exposures, and previous reactions.

  2. Skin prick test: A small amount of latex is applied to the skin to check for a reaction.

  3. Blood test: Measuring the presence of antibodies to latex proteins.

 

Treatment and management of latex allergies include:

  1. Avoidance: Identifying and avoiding latex-containing products.

  2. Substitution: Using latex-free alternatives when possible.

  3. Medication: Antihistamines or corticosteroids to alleviate mild symptoms.

  4. Emergency plan: Carrying an epinephrine auto-injector for severe reactions.

 

For individuals with severe allergic reactions, desensitization treatments may be an option. These treatments involve gradually exposing the individual to small amounts of latex proteins under medical supervision to build tolerance.

 

Seeking professional assessment and guidance is crucial for effectively managing latex allergies and preventing severe reactions. Make an appointment with our board-certified allergist and let our team help you manage and alleviate symptoms associated with latex allergies.

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