I have a latex allergy, have done since it first emerged one Christmas Eve when I was blowing up balloons and my face swole/swelled (?) up larger than any of those balloons! I’ve written quite a few blogs in the past about elements of this allergy and how it affects my life but there are so many things to consider…
Speaking to a friend today who was recently diagnosed and starting to reel off a million things, I realised it needs its own blog. So here you go T.
All the things you need to watch out for if you have a latex allergy:
- Balloons – beware at parties and shop displays. Latex balloons can be a real problem for many. You can get the shiny foil type that are latex free.
- Latex gloves at hospitals – an obvious one though many now use vinyl or nitrile gloves as standard. Powdered natural rubber latex gloves were banned from use in UK hospitals in the 1990s as the powder caused a lot of allergic reactions, so you should be OK but always check!
- Dentists – Not just the gloves but also material used for root canal called Gutta percha can contain rubber. Dental Dams can also contain rubber. If you have a latex allergy you do NOT want that embedded inside your tooth!
- Hospital equipment – tubes, bungs, sheaths, catheters, drainage tubes, face masks… so many things in hospitals can contain latex.
- Vaccines – check that the bung of the needle is not latex.
- Food preparation – Think sandwish prep or kitchen preparation areas. Lots of these staff wear latex gloves for hygiene reasons but could this pose a problem for a latex allergic diner?
- Hairdressers – They may wear gloves of course but some have those rubber bibs to stop hair going on your clothes. This has irritated my neck on occasions so I think some of them may contain latex.
- Gyms – grips on equipment and those rubber flooring tiles in the weights area
- Loom bands – not so popular now but kids make bracelets with tiny rubber loops. Some of these are made from latex.
- Condoms – You can get latex free condoms but you’ll probably always need to be the one taking care of this.
- Paper coatings – some paper can be coated with latex, especially those shiny receipts.
- Clothing – elasticated areas in underwear and anything with a hold up strip can contain latex. Just be aware of this if your clothing becomes irritating.
- Hot Water Bottles – I can use one if it’s inside a protective cover but I’m careful when filling to wear my vinyl washing up gloves.
- Food cross reaction – there are so man foods that cross react with a latex allergy including Chestnuts, papaya, bananas, kiwi, potato, tomato, avocado, celery, passion fruit. I find that I am very allergic to chestnuts, papaya and celery but not to the others. Tomatoes also give me a problem but not anaphylactic. So complex…
- Car and bike tyres – that smell in a garage or bike shop is too much for me. My body goes instantly into alert mode and I want to leave. Changing a puncture on your bike could be a risky task so if you love cycling carry your own safe gloves to wear.
- Elastic bands – Can easily be avoided but one to watch out for.
- Washing up gloves – watch out for the marigolds! I buy my own safe vinyl washing up gloves.
- Adhesives – many adhesives such as envelope glue, sticky plasters etc. can contain latex.
- Erasers – rubbers on pen tops or for erasing pencil marks can be made from rubber although many no longer are. Always check.
- Grips and handles – can be made from latex. Always check with a manufacturer. This could apply to your tennis racket grip, that rubber grip on your bike handle, kitchen utensils as it’s a non stick substance.
- Rubber soled shoes – You can probably wear these without being affected but if you are very sensitive you may need to avoid them. Remove shoes at the door and don’t wear them around the house to limit exposure.
- Mattresses and pillows – Watch out for latex in bedding and mattress covers.
Have I missed anything? I’m sure I have. I will be adding to this list so it’s a full comprehensive go to check list.
The Anaphylaxis Campaign also has information available and a Latex Allergy Forum if you have any questions. Read Latex Allergy.