Latex allergies need to be taken very seriously when dealing with a patient. Whether administering care before, during, or after a medical procedure, using any latex-based products near an allergic patient can lead to serious medical issues.
Latex is a liquid emulsion found in nature that is used in many medical products, including gloves, masks, and tapes. The proteins in this emulsion can have an adverse effect on a patient’s skin. A few different types of latex allergies and related health issues exist. In this article, we’ll discuss more about latex, the types of allergies it can cause, and how to avoid causing an allergic reaction.
What is latex?
Latex is a naturally occurring emulsion found in a variety of plants, especially the rubber tree. This white, milky substance can be used to make many different products and has become a staple of the medical community. Everything from masks and gloves to elastic fabrics and tape have been made with latex.
Latex is a popular ingredient for a variety of medical articles due to its ability to facilitate liquid resistance and tear resistance, as well as being inexpensive for production. Latex has been used for medical gloves since the late 19th century and has been added to many other products over the years.
Over time, the medical community started linking allergic reactions to latex. This led to the development of synthetic latex and nitrite-based products that can be used instead of latex-based ones, providing the same characteristics without the risk of an allergic reaction.
Types of latex allergies
There are two common types of latex allergy that the medical community often sees among patients:
Type 1 hypersensitivity – immediate
This is an immediate allergic reaction to one or more proteins in natural rubber latex. This is a systemic reaction where histamines are released the moment the latex makes contact with the patient, or within a few seconds.
Type 4 hypersensitivity – delayed
This is a delayed allergic reaction in response to contact with natural latex. Driven by T-cells, this reaction tends to occur 48 to 96 hours after first contact with the latex product. Most times, this reaction is less related to the latex itself than it is related to other chemicals in the latex-based product. This allergic reaction is also called contact dermatitis.
Symptoms associated with latex allergic reactions
Every patient is different, so a variety of symptoms could occur to someone if they have a latex allergy. It’s important to look for any type of allergic reaction in a patient who may have an allergy.
On the mild end of the spectrum, hives, skin redness, and an itchy feeling are common issues caused by latex proteins. On the moderate side, problems can include itchy eyes, stuffy nose, scratchy throat, runny nose, wheezing, or other cold-like symptoms. On the severe side, a patient could experience difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, dizziness, confusion, or even loss of consciousness.
No matter the level of allergy, medical professionals need to treat their patients immediately if they show signs of a latex allergy. Light symptoms can turn into serious ones, and there is a potential for death if left untreated.
Use Hy-Tape to avoid latex allergies
Avoiding latex altogether is the only way to ensure that a latex allergy doesn’t occur. Hy-Tape is a latex-free tape that is specially designed with ingredients that are unlikely to cause any allergic reaction.
The tape is made with zinc oxide, a chemical common to sunscreen, for keeping the skin protected while the tape is in contact. It also helps the tape to easily be removed when its use is done.
Hy-Tape is also designed to hold firm, using skin-safe adhesive ingredients. The adhesive is easy on the skin and the tape is designed to move freely with the patient without coming loose. Patients don’t have to worry about slices, bunching, or loss of mobility when using Hy-Tape.
The tape can be used for a wide range of medical purposes. Hy-Tape can hold wound dressings, secure IV needles, secure feeding tubes, and more. The tape is also waterproof, ensuring no entry or escape of liquids.
Latex allergies have become a major issue in the medical field, for both patients and professionals. Regular exposure to latex can make problems worse, causing people to develop allergies by being near the proteins so often. Using alternative materials like Hy-Tape is a good starting point for avoiding latex-based allergic reactions.
Learn more about how Hy-Tape can improve the quality of care provided to patients both inside and outside a medical setting. Contact us today to discuss your need for latex-free medical tape.