Up to 73% of people with spina bifida develop an allergy to latex, which is a type of natural rubber that is generally tolerated and considered to be harmless.
A latex allergy is an acquired hypersensitivity to latex due to repeated exposure. It is theorized that this sensitization occurs from early, intense, and constant exposure to rubber products through multiple surgeries, diagnostic tests and examinations, and also from bladder and bowel programs. Individuals with spina bifida need to avoid latex products whenever possible, in order to minimize their risk of developing the allergy.
- watery eyes
- runny nose
- swelling and itching on contact
- respiratory distress in extreme cases
In the event of an allergic reaction, immediately remove the latex product and rinse the exposed area repeatedly with water. For severe symptoms, contact Emergency Medical Services. Individuals who are highly sensitive to latex may want to carry a self-injectable epinephrine, which can be life saving in cases of anaphylaxis.
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