Friday, August 21, 2009

Latex and Latex Allergies

Latex GlovesLatex is a natural rubber that is used to make a wide variety of products, from common medical supplies such as disposable gloves and catheters to consumer products like certain bowling balls, balloons and articles of clothing. Some people experience allergic reactions that can be mild to severe when exposed to latex. These reactions usually occur when an allergic person comes in contact with latex, but can also be the result of inhaling powder particles that are released when a powdered latex glove is removed, for instance. Though allergies to latex are relatively uncommon, people who are allergic should take precautions to protect themselves from exposure to latex.

Some symptoms of latex allergies that may occur within approximately 48 hours of contact are:
  • Itching, swelling and redness in the area where contact with latex has occurred

  • Blisters in the affected area

  • Stuffy nose and/or sneezing

  • Coughing and/or wheezing

  • Itchy eyes

  • Breathing difficulties

  • In severe cases, anaphylactic response
Those who have an allergy to latex do not all experience the same reaction or severity of symptoms, and anyone who suspects an allergy to latex should consult with a doctor. If a reaction includes breathing difficulty or other severe symptoms, emergency medical attention should be sought immediately.

Avoiding contact with latex is the best way to prevent the reactions associated with latex allergies. Fortunately, alternatives to common latex products are available. Disposable nitrile gloves are often used as a substitute for latex gloves when a medical professional or patient has a known latex allergy. Anyone with the allergy should inform nurses, doctors and dentists so that latex products can be avoided. For consumer products, checking the latex content of products prior to use is another precaution that can be taken to prevent exposure to the allergen.

About MEDNET Direct: MEDNET Direct is a leading provider of medical supplies wholesale for the medical, veterinary and dental industries. Please visit MEDNET Direct for disposable medical supplies such as disposable nitrile gloves, wound dressings, cotton tipped applicators and more.

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