Dentists today wear Latex gloves which have a high allergy potential. If you know you are allergic, you want to take precautions and understand the dangers. Approximately 50 percent of people with Latex allergy have a history of another type of allergy. In fact, certain fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, chestnuts, kiwi, avocado and tomato, can cause allergic symptoms in Latex-sensitive individuals.
What is Latex?
Latex is a milky sap produced by rubber trees. The sap is blended with chemicals during manufacturing to give Latex its elastic quality. Natural rubber Latex is often found in rubber gloves, condoms, balloons, rubber bands, erasers and toys.
What are the symptoms of a Latex allergic reaction?
Allergic symptoms can range from mild to intense. A mild skin reaction can be hives or itching. You can experience a stuffy or runny nose or asthma symptoms of wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. Every year, there are hundreds of cases of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, due to Latex allergy. Symptoms usually start within 5 to 15 minutes after contact, but can be delayed for several hours. They can continue for a variable period, from several hours to days after the Latex contact has ceased. Contact dermatitis from Latex may take several days to appear.
How can you avoid exposure to Latex at your dental visits?
Ask your dentist if they have a Latex-free protocol that they follow for patients with Latex allergies. Your inquiry will also prompt them to make a note of your allergy in your medical record. Synthetic products are a great alternative. Other non-Latex gloves are manufactured in vinyl and nitrile as well.
Remember Latex allergy increases with exposure frequency.
Translation….the more you come in contact with Latex then the higher your allergic response. The only way to prevent an allergic reaction to Latex is to avoid the substance.
Learn more about how to keep your smile healthy and save time and money by spending less time in the dental chair. Click here to download Dr. Robin’s Free Guide article on 5 Steps to a Super Healthy Mouth.