Latex allergies are fairly common and often develop over time with repeated exposure to latex products. People with latex allergies are also at higher risk of developing asthma. Sex workers are at extreme risk of becoming allergic to latex products.
Latex is a natural rubber that is made from the sap of the rubber tree. A latex allergy occurs when a person becomes sensitive to the proteins that are found in natural rubber latex.
Direct contact is not always necessary to cause a reaction, as it is possible to inhale the latex protein through air contact via the powder in the latex product. In this case (contact dermatitis) may take 1-3 days for more moderate symptoms to show, often appearing in the form of eczema (scaly or dry itchy skin) or blisters.
Moderate symptoms of a latex reaction may occur within an hour of contact and symptoms include itching, redness, swelling, hives, shortness of breath, itchy eyes, or stuffed up or runny nose. People with asthma often experience asthma attacks/symptoms when suffering an allergic reactions that may include tightness of the chest and difficulty breathing. To treat moderate symptoms ask your doctor or pharmacist what over the counter medication may be best for you.
If you think you are having a severe reaction it is best to see a doctor immediately. Severe reactions (mediated allergic reactions) can lead to anaphylaxis shock and persons prone to severe reactions should be taken to Emergency immediately. Severe reactions will occur within minutes of contact. If you are prone to severe reactions it is best to wear a medical alert allergy identifier bracelet or necklace, and keep an Epi-pen with you at all times.
If you suspect you have an allergy, the best approach is to see your doctor and ask for allergy testing. Contact tests or blood tests are the best way to diagnose an allergy. Please note, latex allergies may be difficult to diagnose.
The best method to avoid latex allergy reactions is to stop using natural latex items. There are many alternatives with synthetic materials that do not contain the natural rubber protein.
Latex Free Alternatives
Most condom manufacturers carry latex free alternatives, Trojan, Skyn, Durex, all have non-latex variations available. If you are unsure what brand might be best for you do not hesitate to ask your doctor, or even your local pharmacist.
Want more info? Check out our source material: