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How Common Is Latex Allergy

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Latex allergy is a type of hypersensitivity reaction to substances contained in natural rubber latex. It is estimated that up to 6% of healthcare workers and 1-2% of the general population are affected. Symptoms range from mild skin reactions to anaphylactic shock-which can be life-threatening. The reason for sudden latex allergy is due to proteins found in natural rubber latex and non-latex synthetic rubber items, as well as some fruits such as avocados, bananas, chestnuts, and kiwis. When these proteins come in contact with the body, the immune system recognizes them as foreign and releases IgE antibodies, triggering an allergic response.

Several tests exist to diagnose latex allergies, including skin prick tests, patch tests, and RAST tests. In a skin prick test, a small drop of latex solution is placed on the skin, which is then pricked with a needle. If the skin turns red, this indicates an allergy to latex. Patch testing involves placing a small patch of latex on the skin and monitoring it for several days. A red rash or blister indicates an allergic reaction. RAST tests measure the amount of IgE antibodies in the blood.

Those with latex allergies can minimize their risk of having a reaction by avoiding direct contact and wearing protective clothing when handling latex items. Additionally, they should carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of anaphylaxis. Those most prone to latex allergy include healthcare workers, healthcare consumers, and people who work in the rubber industry. With proper care, people with latex allergies can manage their condition and lead normal lives.

Editor's Note: It is estimated that between 1 and 6% of the population is allergic to latex. For those with latex allergies, Saatva Latex Hybrid and Saatva's Zenhaven mattresses, which is a flippable 100% talalay mattress, are both great options to consider. In addition to their comfort, the Saatva brand offers an industry-leading lifetime warranty and a generous one-year trial period/return policy.

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