As we all do our own little bit to protect the NHS more people are resorting to wearing medical gloves when doing their weekly shop. Just make sure you don’t have an a latex allergic reaction.
Up to 6% of the general population are sensitised to latex.
The first time you wear latex gloves you might be fine but the second time you wear them you find your skin become itchy. In some cases you might find it affects your breathing. So why were you fine the first time round?
The answer to this lies in your brain. You see your body has to be in contact with something before it decides whether this is foreign and shouldn’t be there. In the second instance, your body decides that latex is a foreign object and must protect yourself from it.
It does this by releasing histamines which is the bodies natural anti-inflammatory. The problem is that the brain decides to release enough histamines for your entire body which unfortunately it can’t cope with.
You then have an anaphylaxtic reaction which can include any of the folllowing:
Signs of Anaphylaxis (Latex Allergic Reaction)
- Skin rashes and itching and hives
- Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
- Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, wheezing (whistling sound during breathing)
- Dizziness and/or fainting
- Stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea
- Feeling like something awful is about to happen
This is a life-threatening condition and urgent medical assistance is required which is why we cover anaphylaxis on all our first aid courses.
Treatment of Anaphylaxis (Latex Allergic Reaction)
Those that are then diagnosed with anaphylaxis will then carry epi-pens which contain adrenaline to counteract the histamines.
Latex can be found in lots of everyday products. Some of these are listed below:
- Latex gloves
- Rubber bands
- Baby teats/dummies
- Hot water bottles
- Stress balls
- Washing-up gloves
- Adhesives including hair glue
- Underwear elastic
- Shoe soles
- Sports equipment (such as basketballs, hand grips and gym mats)
- Swimming cap and goggles
- Calculator/remote control buttons
If you find you have an allergic reaction to latex gloves then you should dispose of them and use an alternative such as nitrile gloves. These contain synthetic rubber and are widely used by the healthcare profession.
Stay Safe – Stay at Home
For more information on anaphylaxis please head over to the Anaphylaxis Campaign.