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Information on Latex Allergy

Latex allergy is a fairly common type of allergy as everytenth person is sensitive to latex. The allergy most commonly affects thepersons who are repeatedly exposed to latex and it also often affects theinfants who suffer from congenital spina bifida. Reactions to latex may rangefrom minor symptoms such as skin rashes all the way to seriously severe lifethreatening medical conditions such as anaphylactic shock. There is no cure forlatex allergy so avoidance of exposure is the only way of protection. Latexproducts can be replaced by their synthetic alternatives. Some hospitals evengo that far to introduce latex safe environments for those who suffer fromlatex allergies. The first documented case of latex allergy occurred in 1979,and there were 15 cases of fatal outcome.

Latex Exposure

The exposure to latex may occur by means of direct contactwith the bloodstream, mucous membranes and the skin, but it can also be inhaledin the form of particles. The most serious reactions affiliated with latexallergies are commonly connected with parenteral exposures which involve thedirect contact of latex with the bloodstream. Latex particles can be inhaledwhen their proteins get combined with the powder from the gloves so they formaerosolized particles together. When the particles enter the human body theyget absorbed and trigger an allergic reaction.

Latex Allergy Immune Response

Latex allergy is actually an immune response to the proteinscontained in the natural rubber latex. Latex contains more than 200 differenttypes of proteins and of all them there are at least 50 which can be associatedwith allergic reactions. The first exposure may sometimes be asymptomatic withno specific symptoms. The immune response involves the release ofimmunoglobulin which is an antibody whose purpose is to fight the harmfulproteins. Each subsequent exposure to latex is commonly more and more severe interms of symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Latex Allergy

The most common symptom of latex allergy is the irritantcontact dermatitis which is an inflammatory condition of the skin. Anothercommon symptom of latex allergy is the allergic contact dermatitis which can becharacterized by skin rashes and oozing blisters. A person may also experiencea medical condition known as the hypersensitivity immune system response. Themost severe of all the symptoms which can be associated with the latex allergyis the anaphylactic shock. It may even be fatal in some cases. It can becharacterized by nausea, fainting, abdominal pain, drop in blood pressure,rapid heart rate, shortness of breath and generalized hives. All cases ofanaphylactic shock require immediate medical attention.

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