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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Got Latex? Everything Does!

After a visit to the allergist today I was surprised to learn there wasn't any reliable test to confirm if the girl is allergic to latex or not. I had imagined she was going to be put through the ringer like her brother was a couple of years ago when his back got scratched with different possible allergens and then swelled up if they were positive. Nope, you can't do that for latex. The closest thing they offer to confirm the allergy is a blood test. If it comes back positive, yes, you're allergic. If it comes back negative, you very well still might be allergic. That's how inaccurate it is. We opted for the test anyway and will know in a couple of days what the inaccurate result is.

The other option the doctor informed us of was to prick a latex glove with a pin and then prick my daughter. She didn't recommend we try it though as she seemed to think with the description of symptoms she most likely is. The latest outbreak occurred about two weeks ago when the girl dyed her hair. As she unfolded the paper inside the box she pulled the gloves off. She quickly realized they might be latex so didn't put them on. However she didn't think to wash her hands and at some point must have touched her lip. In the evening she began to feel them swell and we quickly dosed her with Benadryl. Luckily the next day she had her well visit so the doctor saw them and prescribed an ointment which seemed to offer quick relief. We wondered why she didn't get a reaction on her hands and the feeling was that the skin on the hands is thicker than the tender lips. It was then she referred us to the allergist.

I asked the allergist how often she would have to get shots for the latex allergy. My son used to go twice a week for shots for five years to get rid of his cat/dust mite/assorted grasses allergy, which by the way never fully left him, so I was preparing myself. The allergist said they don't give shots for latex allergies. I asked what the treatment was. Only one -- avoidance. Yikes!!!!

I left disappointed but my daughter was relieved she wouldn't need the scratch test and shots. With all the medical procedures this kid has undergone I could understand. I also left with a list of things latex is in. It's obvious anytime she has to get treatment from a doctor, dentist or hospital its imperative they know of this allergy because most of the products they use for routine procedures contain latex.

Proderma Latex Gloves ( 5mil 9" cuff ) Pictures, Images and Photos

Here are some things to avoid at home, some are fairly obvious, others not so much:

Balloons
Balls - Koosh, tennis, rubber, basketball
Bath mat
Bathroom throw rugs
Bungee cords
Camera eye piece, binoculars eye piece
Carpet backing, gym floors
Chewing gum
Cleaning/kitchen gloves
Condoms, diaphragms
Contraceptive sponge
Cosmetic applicators sponges
Dental braces with rubber bands
Disposable diapers, rubber pants
Elastic on underwear, leg and waist of clothing
Erasers
Feeding nipples
Feminine sanitary pads
Fish tanks & decorations in tank (the seals for the tank are latex)
Helmets, bike
Insulation material
Lottery tickets (instant winner scratch off is latex)
Pacifiers
Plants, tarps, hose, tires, electric cords
Racquet handles: ping-pong, golf clubs, bars, tools, ski poles
Rain coats, rubber boots
Rubber bands
Sailing Equipment
Silk flowers
Socks
Swimming goggles, caps, bathing suits
Toys, rubber ducky, teething toys
Toys, old Barbies pre-1993, bowling balls
Water toys, swim scuba, snorkels, wet suits
Wheel chair cushions, tires
Zippered storage bags
Driveway sealant
Glue on envelopes
Gaskets
Mouse pad for computers
Rubber button pads - phone, calculator, computer board covers, TV remote controls

It's also thought that people allergic to kiwi, bananas, chestnuts or avocados, papaya, fig, passion fruit, nectarine, plum, cherry, melons, tomato and celery are more apt to have latex allergy, son conversely people allergic to latex should avoid these foods.

Food handled by latex gloves can also be a problem. Check with restaurants before eating.

Some list, huh?

She's had many of the fruits listed above and no reaction as far as we know. Same thing with many of the items. I don't know if it's possible she can develop a reaction in the future but I know we'll be keeping our eyes open. Watching the discomfort she's been in, I imagine once you've experienced a reaction it's something you'll make every effort to avoid.

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