The term ‘latex’ refers to the milky fluid (sap) that circulates in the vascular system of rubber trees. This milky fluid is commonly used to make natural rubber products. It is observed that people who are allergic to latex cannot use any product manufactured from the milky fluid that is obtained from the rubber tree.
The proteins present in natural rubber latex are allergenic components that can trigger an abnormal immune response. So, simply by touching a product containing latex, the person may suffer from allergy symptoms such as itching or swelling of the exposed area of the skin.
Dealing with Latex Allergy
✦ The best option is to remove all latex products from your household. Also, whenever outside the house, one should avoid or limit contact with latex products.
✦ Instead of latex, a better option would be to use products that are made from plastic, leather, cotton, nylon, synthetic or any other material that does not cause an allergic reaction.
✦ Precaution should also be taken so that you do not venture into areas that are stuffed with latex products. Similarly, do not consume foods that may trigger an allergic reaction.
✦ One should try and minimize contact with latex products, as getting latex allergy is directly proportional to the extent to which a person is exposed to latex in his lifetime. Also, check out the list given below to get an idea of what to avoid.
Products to Avoid
Quite a few products that we use in our day-to-day lives contain latex, some are fairly obvious, while some are subtle and can be tricky to spot. Here’s a list of products to avoid.
- Household gloves
- Telephone cords
- Hot water bottles
- Elastic bands
- Bottle nipples
- Baby toys and pacifiers
- Rubber soles
Latex is also found in gym and exercise equipment such as exercise ball, resistance bands, treadmill, elliptical trainer or stationary bike. Latex exposure can also occur after coming in contact with sports equipment such as racquet handles grips, scuba masks, windsurfing boards, and squash balls.
Foods to Avoid
People who are allergic to latex products may also be allergic to certain foods. This is because the proteins found in these foods resemble, to a large extent, the proteins present in latex rubber. Here’s a list of foods to avoid.
Bananas, avocados, kiwi, and chestnuts are the 4 most common foods that can produce a latex-allergy response. Compared to the above list of foods, people taking the 4 fruits mentioned here are at a higher risk of suffering from a latex-allergic reaction.
An adverse allergic reaction to latex that causes breathing problems is rare and will require immediate medical attention. In such situations, the doctor administers epinephrine injections, which help reverse a severe allergic reaction. In case, an allergic reaction occurs on consuming some of these foods, there is a greater chance that you may become allergic to latex products at some stage in your life. In such circumstances, it is recommended to avoid or reduce exposure.