Natural rubber latex is a common ingredient found in many consumer products, such as hoses, pacifiers, tires, condoms, and hot water bottles. Latex is also found in many medical and dental supplies and devices such as gloves, masks, syringes, catheters and tape.
Natural rubber latex is derived from rubber trees. Some people develop hypersensitivity to proteins in the rubber. This can eventually lead to allergic reactions when the person comes in contact with latex. Latex allergy usually develops after repeated exposure to products containing natural rubber latex.
When exposed to latex proteins, a latex-sensitive individual may experience minor symptoms such as hives or nasal congestion. Severe reactions may result in anaphylaxis, a dangerous systemic reaction that causes a drop in blood pressure, difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat, tongue, nose, and even loss of consciousness and death, if untreated.
Clarkson Dental Group is a latex free office. Latex sensitive individuals should obviously avoid contact with latex. At every visit, latex sensitive individuals should be sure to remind all health care workers of their allergy. Vinyl or nitrile products are synthetic substitutes which can be safely used without fear of adverse reactions in latex sensitive people, whether they are health care workers or patients.
If you have any questions about latex allergy, Dr. Mahlin would be happy to discuss them with you.