The dangers of a latex allergy and symptoms that surface

An allergic reaction to latex can happen in an operating room – one that you were assured would be latex-free. Despite all precautions, such an avoidable complication may arise due to an absent-minded member of the medical care team, who brought in a latex-containing item.

The results of a latex allergy may prove fatal, leading to anaphylactic shock in which your blood pressure plunges and airways narrow, causing you to have difficulty breathing. Heart failure, too, is possible. How does this happen at a hospital or clinic? Latex is commonly used in many medical supplies.

Rash, coughing and vomiting

Face masks, surgical gloves, stethoscopes and catheters are among the medical supplies that contain latex. When medical teams know that they will operate on a patient who has a latex allergy, they schedule the surgeries first thing in the morning. In preparation, they thoroughly inspect the operating room, remove any latex-containing items and sterilize the area.

However, sometimes, the best-laid plans go awry. A medical team member may not have followed directions and wore latex gloves for the surgery. Here are some of the symptoms that may surface from a latex allergy:

  • An abrupt itching of the skin, causing swelling and redness.
  • Rashes that swiftly appear on a person’s entire body.
  • Watery and itchy eyes.
  • Incessant coughing and sneezing.
  • Nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting.
  • Extreme difficulty in breathing and respiratory issues.

Just touching a latex-containing product may trigger an allergic reaction, so can inhaling latex particles that float into the air.

Knowing every detail of their patients

Protecting patients and providing the right care for them is essential for any clinic, hospital or medical team. This group must know every detail regarding the patients they treat. If they do not, unforeseen complications and even tragedy may occur in situations such as a latex allergy situation. Patients’ lives are in the hands of medical professionals, so they must make the right preparations and decisions.