Latex Allergy Blood Test
The Latex Allergy Blood Test measures the IgE antibody levels in the blood to detect an allergy to latex.
What is the purpose of this test?
Order this Latex Allergy Blood Test measures the IgE antibody levels in the blood to detect an allergy to latex. Latex originates from the rubber tree's sap, Hevea brasiliensis, and is commonly referred to as natural rubber latex (NRL). Many individuals are allergic to specific proteins found in latex. Individuals with a latex allergy may react when they inhale latex particles or come into physical contact with latex. This test may help individuals with a suspected latex allergy confirm their diagnosis and aid their healthcare provider in developing a management and treatment plan.
Who is most likely to be allergic to latex?
Any individual can develop an allergy to latex; however, some people have a higher risk of developing the condition. Specific risk factors that may increase the possibility of developing a latex allergy include:
- Work in an industry where you have frequent contact with latex (healthcare workers, facilities that manufacture latex products, housekeepers, and hairdressers)
- A history of multiple surgical procedures
- A urinary catheter
- Have an allergy to certain foods, such as:
- raw potatoes
- A history of allergies, asthma, or eczema
- Spina bifida
- A defect in bone marrow cells
- Urologic problems (deformed bladder or urinary tract)
What causes an allergic reaction to latex?
When an individual allergic to latex becomes exposed to the allergen, their immune system recognizes the substance as foreign. As a result, it stimulates the plasma cells to produce specific antibodies that combat these invaders. Suppose the individual is exposed to the allergen again through direct skin contact or inhalation. In that case, the immune system "recognizes" the allergen encountered. These antibodies cause a chemical known as histamine to be released, triggering an allergic reaction.
It is important to note that synthetic latex does not come from rubber tree sap, such as that used in natural rubber latex products. Therefore, latex allergies are not triggered by exposure to synthetic latex.
When should I order a Latex Allergy Blood Test?
Individuals may order this Latex Allergy Blood Test if they have experienced symptoms related to a latex allergy. Allergy symptoms vary from one individual to the next ranging from mild to severe reactions, which can be experienced within minutes to hours after exposure. Common symptoms of a latex allergy may include one or more of the following symptoms:
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Itchy skin rash or hives
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing
- Cough or sore throat
- Nasal symptoms (sneezing, runny nose, or congestion)
A severe, possibly life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis may occur in some cases. An anaphylactic response requires immediate medical attention. Signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis may include:
- Rapid or increased heart rate
- Swollen throat or lump making it difficult to breathe
- Low blood pressure
- Extreme dizziness or loss of consciousness
What products can trigger a latex allergy?
Many everyday household products, as well as medical and dental supplies, contain latex. The following products may trigger a latex allergy:
- Certain household products (freezer storage bags, bathmats, and rugs)
- Dentist and medical supplies (gloves, intravenous tubes, catheters, and dental dams)
- Certain school or office supplies (rubber bands, erasers, and adhesive tape)
- Elastic bandages
- Clothing containing elastic bands
- Rubber balloons
- Infant and children items (pacifiers, bottle nipples, disposable diapers, and teething toys)
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