Less than 1% of the general population is allergic to latex (natural rubber), but for individuals who have undergone multiple surgeries, the risk of acquiring a latex allergy increases. Research has shown that 50 – 60% of spina bifida children will develop a latex allergy.
Latex can be found in many medical products such as catheters and elastic bandages. It is also found in many household items including baby bottle nipples, pacifiers, and balloons.
Some products are clearly labeled that they contain “latex or natural rubber”. If you are unsure if a product contains latex, contact the manufacturer.
The symptoms of latex allergy can range from mild to severe. They generally occur within minutes of exposure, but they can be delayed for hours.
- Skin redness, itching, hives
- Runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion
- Sore or scratchy throat, coughing
- Red, itchy, watery eyes
- Chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath
- Anaphylaxis or shock*
*Anaphylaxis is a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction. It includes a sharp drop in blood pressure; flushed skin; difficulty in breathing; swelling of the throat and tongue; and loss of consciousness. Seek emergency medical attention at the first sign of an anaphylactic reaction. If you have had such reaction in the past, ask your doctor about an Anaphylactic Kit that could be used in case you ever experience another episode.
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