Latex Allergies

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latex-allergySterilized gloves were used in hospitals as early as 1894 but the first disposable latex based medical gloves were introduced to the world market in 1964 by Ansell Gloves, a company found by Eric Ansell in Melbourne, Australia in 1905.

AIDS and Latex Gloves

In the mid eighties and due to the breakout of the AIDS epidemic, the use of disposable gloves in the medical industry grew rapidly. Latex based gloves products continued their growth in non-medical markets until the mid-nineties when the media started reporting on allergic reactions to latex.

Latex-based products are derived from extracting the sap of the rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis. This latex sap is mechanically extracted in commercial settings and chemical preservatives are added during a heating process. The primary additive is ammonia which is believed to increase the  rubber’s structural strength.

Latex Allergen

It is still not fully known if it is the chemical additives, the latex material itself or the combination of both which can lead to latex allergies. Preliminary studies have shown that the allergen which may cause a latex allergy may be from the protein found in the rubber (latex) but more studies must be completed before a definitive answer will be discovered.

Preventing Latex Allergies

If you feel you have a latex based allergy, then avoidance is always the best method for prevention. Even the dust from a latex glove may set off a reaction. There are great latex glove alternatives such as nitrile-based gloves which are found to be more tear resistant. Glove manufacturers and also recently introduced new low latex-protein, powder-free gloves which are shown to have less potential for creating a reaction in an individual which is  sensitive to latex.

Here are some additional products which may contain latex:

  • Adhesives
  • Band-Aids
  • Balloons
  • Cleaning gloves
  • Carpet backing
  • Condoms – Diaphragms
  • Electricians gloves
  • Elasticized fabrics
  • Elastic waist bands
  • Hot water bottles
  • Pacifiers
  • Rubber toys
  • Rubber bands
  • Shower curtains / mats / & other rubber mats
  • Sport racquet handles
  • Swim caps/ some goggle straps
  • Toy balls

About the Author: Jim Rothingham is a national sales manager for a major manufacturer and supplier of medical supplies to the medical industry.

Latex Allergy, Part 1

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Makeup Allergy Test

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Makeup-allergy-testsMakeup Allergy Test

There are many skin symptoms attributed to other causes which are actually allergic responses to chemicals found in everyday products. If you often have rashes or other skin problems, they may be an allergic response to cosmetics, soaps or even laundry detergents.

Here’s how to identify the source of the problem without the expense of seeing a doctor. Use an unexposed area of your skin like your back (you will need assistance) or your arm (cover with a soft, long sleeved shirt). Make sure your skin is clean and dry.

Apply a small amount of the suspected allergy-causing substance to your skin and cover with a square of surgical gauze, followed by a bandage or surgical adhesive. If the test substance is dry such as face powder or solid makeup, put a tiny amount of it in some mineral oil and apply that to your skin. Keep the test patch on your skin for 24 to 48 hours and watch for an allergic reaction to develop.

Once you find out what substance or substances are setting off your allergic response, you’ll know what to avoid.

Source: Allergy Secrets and You Newsletter

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