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Latex Allergy Treatments

Introduction continued...

Mortality/Morbidity:

  • Patients with type I hypersensitivity are at risk of developing anaphylaxis and/or respiratory obstruction, which can be fatal.
  • Deaths have been reported following the intraoperative use of latex rectal catheters. Latex anaphylaxis has occurred after childbirth, instrumentation, intravenous injection, balloon blowing, and condom use.
  • Although most patients can be treated effectively for type IV and type I reactions without clinical sequelae, major allergy may prevent them from pursuing certain careers, using many household and workplace objects, and seeking timely medical care due to justified fear of latex exposure.

Sex: Incidence in males and females is equal.

Age: Latex allergy probably is more common in children and in younger working adults because of the increased medical and/or occupational exposure over the past two decades.

Clinical

History: Symptoms of delayed (type IV) hypersensitivity usually develop within 1-2 days of exposure. Immediate (type I) hypersensitivity causes symptoms within minutes of exposure. Symptoms may include the following:

  • Pruritus of exposed skin and mucous membranes
  • Edema of the skin, mucous membranes, or subcutaneous tissues
  • Hoarseness
  • Tearing
  • Rhinitis
  • Dyspnea
  • Lightheadedness, syncope
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Physical:

  • Rash
  • Erythema, edema, papules, and vesicles in areas of direct contact (type IV)
  • Erythema, thickening, and pigment changes with chronic exposure (type IV)
  • Urticaria, localized or generalized (type I)
  • Angioedema
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Rhinitis
  • Stridor
  • Wheezing
  • Hypotension, shock

Causes: The source of latex exposure may be obvious or occult. The history of latex allergy may be known or unknown. Individuals may be exposed to latex through their skin, mucous membranes, or airway (ie, oral, nasal, or endotracheal tissue). Medical procedures may cause reactions in sensitized providers or patients. Inadvertent inhalational exposure is frequent in medical settings where aerosolized latex-laden glove powder may remain airborne for hours. Inhalational exposure also may occur outside hospitals from use of powder-lubricated latex products or even tire particles in heavy traffic areas. Common sources of latex exposure include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Gloves (eg, examination, surgical, household)
  • Tourniquets, blood pressure cuffs
  • Stethoscopes
  • Catheters
  • Intravenous tubing ports, syringe plungers
  • Electrode pads
  • Goggles
  • Respirators
  • Wound drains and tubes
  • Multidose vial tops
  • Dental dams
  • Tires
  • Handgrips
  • Carpeting
  • Shoe soles, elastic in clothing
  • Condoms, diaphragms
  • Balloons
  • Pacifiers, baby bottle nipples
  • Erasers, computer mouse pads, and rubber bands

History: Symptoms of delayed (type IV) hypersensitivity usually develop within 1-2 days of exposure. Immediate (type I) hypersensitivity causes symptoms within minutes of exposure. Symptoms may include the following:

  • Pruritus of exposed skin and mucous membranes
  • Edema of the skin, mucous membranes, or subcutaneous tissues
  • Hoarseness
  • Tearing
  • Rhinitis
  • Dyspnea
  • Lightheadedness, syncope
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Physical:

  • Rash
  • Erythema, edema, papules, and vesicles in areas of direct contact (type IV)
  • Erythema, thickening, and pigment changes with chronic exposure (type IV)
  • Urticaria, localized or generalized (type I)
  • Angioedema
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Rhinitis
  • Stridor
  • Wheezing
  • Hypotension, shock

Causes: The source of latex exposure may be obvious or occult. The history of latex allergy may be known or unknown. Individuals may be exposed to latex through their skin, mucous membranes, or airway (ie, oral, nasal, or endotracheal tissue). Medical procedures may cause reactions in sensitized providers or patients. Inadvertent inhalational exposure is frequent in medical settings where aerosolized latex-laden glove powder may remain airborne for hours. Inhalational exposure also may occur outside hospitals from use of powder-lubricated latex products or even tire particles in heavy traffic areas. Common sources of latex exposure include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Gloves (eg, examination, surgical, household)
  • Tourniquets, blood pressure cuffs
  • Stethoscopes
  • Catheters
  • Intravenous tubing ports, syringe plungers
  • Electrode pads
  • Goggles
  • Respirators
  • Wound drains and tubes
  • Multidose vial tops
  • Dental dams
  • Tires
  • Handgrips
  • Carpeting
  • Shoe soles, elastic in clothing
  • Condoms, diaphragms
  • Balloons
  • Pacifiers, baby bottle nipples
  • Erasers, computer mouse pads, and rubber bands

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

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