Medical staff assured you that all precautions would be made. The operating room would be scrubbed clean, sanitized and latex-free. In addition, the staff scheduled your surgery early in the morning, the first of the day. Why did they need to do this? Because you have a latex allergy. Exposure to latex may cause an allergic reaction that could potentially lead to death.
At a hospital or clinic, latex is a commonly found in medical supplies such as face masks, stethoscopes, surgical gloves and catheters. What can trigger an allergic reaction? Simple contact with these medical supplies as well as inhaling latex particles located in them. The latter situation may occur when a surgeon simply removes his or her gloves.
May lead to anaphylactic shock
A latex allergy may develop later in life, and proteins found in natural latex rubber are what cause it. The signs of such an allergic reaction may occur immediately after exposure or even hours later.
One of the most severe consequences of an allergic reaction is going into anaphylactic shock. When this occurs, your blood pressure drops and airways narrow, leading to difficulty breathing. Heart failure may occur, too, ultimately proving fatal.
Redness on skin, difficulty breathing
Among the symptoms that may surface from a latex allergy include:
- Sudden and constant itching of the skin. This may lead to swelling and redness.
- Body rashes that quickly appear.
- Itchy and watery eyes.
- Abrupt coughing and sneezing that does not stop.
- Severe respiratory issues and breathing difficulty.
Providing proper care for their patients is an important characteristic of medical facilities and staff. They need to know every patient detail, including whether they have the latex allergy. A hospital may take all the necessary precautions, but all it takes is one absent-minded or careless medical staff member to place a patient’s life in danger.