Avoiding a Latex Allergy When Using Incontinence Products

Rashes, hives, or worse are dangers for people sensitive to the sap of Brazilian rubber trees, a component of some brands of adult diaper products.

Users of incontinence products please take note: According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, some three million Americans are plagued with sensitivity to latex, a component of some brands of incontinence protection. That means they may react either to the milky sap of the Brazilian rubber tree, which is the essence of latex, or to any of the chemicals that are combined with the sap to make latex products. In addition to people with current latex allergies, however, millions more may be susceptible to developing an allergy should they have repeated contact with latex.

Salk, Inc., the pioneer of reusable incontinence products, never employs latex in its broad array of comfortable, state-of-the-art moisture- and odor-control garments, pads and underpads. Nor do Salk products contain any of the potentially harmful chemicals that commonly show up in the ingredients of personal care items. Using them would undermine Salk’s commitment to making incontinence products that minimize the impact of incontinence on your quality of life.

In the case of latex, sensitivity can produce a wide variety of symptoms, ranging all the way in severity from a simple nagging itch to, in rare cases, life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Some people react to latex without actually touching it, just by breathing in microscopic airborne latex fibers.

The mildest manifestation of latex sensitivity is called contact dermatitis, which results in dry, itchy skin. Some cases of contact dermatitis are not true allergic reactions because they do not involve the immune system. The latex, or one or more of its associated chemicals, simply irritates the skin. More troublesome is the condition known as allergic contact dermatitis. As its name indicates, this is an actual allergic reaction that can produce itchy redness and swelling in any part of the body where contact with latex occurs.

The most serious sensitivity to latex is what healthcare professionals call an IgE-mediated allergic reaction, in which the body’s immune system is mobilized to attack what it perceives to be a harmful invader. This can cause hives, swelling, inflammation around the eyes, symptoms that emulate asthma, and – in the worst case – anaphylaxis, in which a swollen throat and tightness in the chest can make breathing very difficult. Because anaphylaxis can be fatal, people susceptible to it are instructed to carry epinephrine, the antidote, with them at all times, and be trained to inject it when necessary.

As noted above, an allergy sometimes develops only after repeated contact with latex. In addition, people who develop contact dermatitis may be susceptible to more dangerous allergic reactions later on. For example, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America notes that four of five people “who develop an IgE-mediated latex allergy will have contact dermatitis first.” Therefore, pay attention to any itch or rash that may be the result of contact with latex. If the symptoms start to worsen, see your doctor to head off possible trouble. A thorough list of possible latex allergy symptoms is found here:http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/latex-allergy/basics/symptoms/con-20024233

Incontinence imposes enough burdens, both physical and emotional. Don’t risk additional problems by allowing potentially dangerous latex in your incontinence products.