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Latex Allergies

Allergic to latex rubber

Dear Doctor,
I am allergic to latex rubber. Does my dentist have alternatives to latex gloves?

Latex glove allergies

Dear Mary Catherine,
This is a concern particularly for health care workers who are constantly exposed to latex surgical/examination gloves and other latex-based health care products. While most people come into safe contact with latex-containing products every day, some susceptible individuals have developed hypersensitivity to proteins derived from natural rubber latex, which can cause allergic reactions. The powder used on latex gloves can also absorb the gloves' proteins and cause increased exposure to latex. Natural rubber latex is a common ingredient found in many consumer products, such as balloons, balls, appliance cords, hoses, hot water bottles, pacifiers, swimwear, toys, tires, condoms, rubber bands and shoes. Latex also can be found in many medical or dental supplies and devices, such as masks, gloves, syringes, catheters, dressings, tape and bandages.

Latex allergy symptoms can range from minor rashes, hives or nasal congestion to anaphylaxis, a dangerous life-threatening condition that causes a drop in blood pressure, difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat, tongue and nose, and even loss of consciousness.

There are numerous products available for latex allergy sufferers to use.

There are numerous products available for latex allergy sufferers to use. Some of these include nitrile and neoprene (synthetic latex) gloves as well as plasticized polyvinylchloride, PVC gloves. Because you have been diagnosed with this allergy, it is important that you inform your dentist as well as all healthcare professionals at least 24 hours prior to every appointment so that they can implement their latex-free protocol while treating you.