It is a milky fluid comes from the rubber tree. Rubber is made by extracting this milky fluid called latex from the rubber tree where it is chemically treated to get the desired features.
Latex Allergy results from the reaction of the immune system to certain proteins present in natural rubber latex.
A) Natural rubber products in houses:
B) Natural rubber products in health care facilities:
The incidence rate among health care personnel is higher than that of the general population, reaching 17%. It is believed that increased use of rubber gloves may be the main cause behind developing serious allergic reactions to latex in this group of people.
Statistically, it is estimated that 5-10% of the general population are allergic to latex.
Others who are at increased risk of developing latex allergy are:
Allergy symptoms occur after exposure to products containing natural rubber latex. The symptoms vary from mild or moderate to severe, depending on the degree and type of the patient’s allergy and the amount of latex to which he exposed.
Mild or moderate symptoms:
Signs that threaten human life and require emergency treatment:
When latex allergy symptoms appear, your doctor will:
To check if there are any other abnormal signs.
- Skin test: The skin is pricked with small amounts of allergens found in natural rubber latex. If the person suffers allergy, the diagnosis is made through the appearance of a rash in the same place of prick.
- Blood test: A test which measures the immune system respond to natural rubber latex by measuring the antibodies to the allergens in the blood known as IgE.
In case of latex allergy, symptoms may be treated, but allergy itself cannot be treated.
- Treatment of moderate allergy symptoms
Medications such as antihistamines may reduce symptoms of minor allergies. These medications are taken after exposure to natural rubber latex to control latex allergy symptoms.
- Treatment of severe allergy symptoms:
In case of severe allergy, emergency intervention is required through injecting the body with epinephrine under supervision of a doctor. The patient also needs oxygen and corticosteroids.
Prevention of latex allergy:
The best way to treat latex allergy is to prevent it by: