Latex Sensitivity and the Average American.
You can find a Latex Sensitivity warning on every warning label and watch list for most products used in the medical industry today. And with good reason.
According to the American Latex Allergy Association (ALAA), the number of people sensitized to natural rubber latex is not insignificant. Many adults and children are susceptible to latex allergies. Statistics on the number of people affected by latex sensitivities are as follows
Latex allergies affect:
- 8-17% of all health care workers.
- Up to 68% of children with spina bifida (related to frequent surgeries – anyone who has multiple surgeries is at risk)
- Less than 1% of the general population in the U.S. (about 3 million people)
Natural rubber latex has been in use for more than a century and is used in many products today. Anything with rubber or elastic properties has the potential of containing latex. Gloves, balloons, BP cuffs, catheters, rubber bands, Spandex, pacifiers and bottle nipples for babies are just some of the items which often contain latex.
I use latex paint on my house; however, despite the name, latex paint is made from synthetic ingredients, and generally doesn’t cause the same allergic reaction.
Here at Caregiver-Aid, many of our products have the potential of containing natural rubber latex. Manufacturers are always careful to advise customers of the presence of latex in their products. Latex sensitivity is avoidable by carefully reading the manufacturers’ documentation before you purchase and use the products.
Caregivers are busy people with daily schedules and problems of their own, without having to deal with latex sensitivity.
- Hives or welts
- Swelling of affected area
- Runny nose
- Reddened, itchy or teary eyes
- Sore throat, hoarse voice
- Abdominal cramps
- Chest tightness, wheezing, or shortness of breath (asthma)
If exposure to latex continues, allergy symptoms may include a severe and life- threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Cross-reactivity between latex sensitivity and various foods result from the presence of similar proteins in natural rubber latex and certain foods. In those people with latex sensitivity, nearly 70 percent will have a positive allergy test to at least one related food, and 50 percent will have a positive allergy test to more than one food. It is also possible for people with food allergies to various fruits to become allergic to latex as a result of similar proteins in the two substances.
The following foods have been known to cross-react with latex. The following is not an exhaustive list, as new foods are added frequently:
- Avocado, Banana, Chestnut, Potato, Tomato, Kiwi, Pineapple, Papaya, Eggplant, Melon, Passion Fruit, Mango, Wheat and Cherimoya.
The American Latex Allergy Association is a national non-profit 501, (c) (3), tax exempt organization that provides educational information about latex allergy and supports latex-allergic individuals. They have provided the pdf below to help us be prepared when living with latex sensitivity.