Dealing with a Latex Sensitivity

30 July 2014

Peace of Mind for Patients with Latex Sensitivity

Latex is often used in medical and dental settings, and it’s been reported that approximately 1-6% of the general population is sensitive or allergic to the compounds in latex. This sensitivity can cause serious problems if not addressed before seeking dental treatment.

The reactions to latex sensitivities can range in severity from a runny nose to anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening if not treated immediately. An important factor in protecting the body is identifying common latex sources and understanding the degree of your allergy or sensitivity.

Symptoms of a Latex Allergy or Sensitivity

Allergic reactions will occur after the inhalation of latex particles or any contact with a latex substance, such as gloves. Symptoms range from mild to severe and may become more serious the longer you are exposed. Some common symptoms to watch for include:

  • Redness of the skin
  • Rash or hives
  • Itching
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Wheezing
  • Scratchy throat
  • Watery, itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Difficulty breathing

If a serious latex allergy is present, anaphylactic shock is a concern and can be life-threatening. Serious symptoms of anaphylactic shock are:

  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Weak or rapid pulse
  • Wheezing
  • A drop in blood pressure

The first contact with latex will rarely result in a serious reaction, but the key to prevention is information.

Where is Latex Found?

Latex is found in many common household items such as erasers, rubber bands, balloons and carpet. Latex is also commonly used in medical and dental settings, making it imperative that patients understand their allergy before visiting a dentist. Here at Oakville Place Dental Office, we use bishphenol-free dental sealants. Even when just a mild sensitivity to latex is present, we prefer to use a non-latex alternative such as nitrile.

Who is at Risk?

Certain lifestyle factors and medical conditions may make patients more susceptible to a latex allergy or sensitivity:

  • Children with spina bifida
  • Patients with abnormalities of the urinary tract
  • Patients that have undergone multiple medical procedures or surgeries
  • Workers in the health care industry
  • Rubber industry workers
  • Patients with a family history of allergies

Latex allergies can also be related to food allergies in certain cases. If you have an allergy to bananas, avocados, passion fruits, chestnuts or kiwis, you may be more likely to develop a latex allergy.

Preventing Latex Allergies through Awareness

At Oakville Place Dental, we are committed to your health. Our dentists can help you understand latex allergies and offer alternatives that will keep you safe. If you have any questions or concerns regarding a latex sensitivity, feel free to contact us!

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