Latex allergy concerns

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My two-year-old PA son had what I believe was a reaction to latex. He was playing with a latex balloon, holding it on his face and mouth. I took it away (more as a concern about choking hazard if it popped), and I noticed that half of his bottom lip was puffed out/swollen. I washed off his mouth and hands. The swelling went away after less than 10 minutes.

We have an appointment with the allergist tomorrow, but I'm worried about the testing they plan to do. The nurse said something about puting a small piece of latex glove on his skin, observing reaction, then pricking skin through piece of latex glove, observing reaction, etc. My concern is that this could provoke a severe reaction and/or further sensitize him to latex. He has used latex bottle nipples and pacifiers (for sleeping) and I now switched to silicone. He also wears Pampers Premium diapers. He has never reacted to these items or any others. My understanding is that latex is just about everywhere. I don't even know what I'd do about a latex-free bandaid if he needed one tomorrow.

Any thoughts/ideas? Should I ask for RAST or CAP-RAST before or instead of skin testing (he's only had skin testing for other allergies)? Is it possible he's only reactive to balloons or highly concentrated forms of latex? How much do those of you with latex allergies "de-latex" your house? Just staying away from balloons, gloves, etc. or complete removal/avoidance of latex in common household objects, toys, clothing, school supplies, etc.?

Honestly, I'm really feeling scared and sick to my stomach about the whole thing, and I wish I didn't even have to have him tested. We've only been dealing with the PA for a year, and ,as you know, that's tough enough.

Sorry to ramble. I'd appreciate any advice/feedback. Thanks

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On May 5, 2000

I wanted to follow-up on my previous post. We did go to the allergist today and decided to do CAP-RAST prior to skin testing because of my concerns. My understanding is that the blood tests will be inconclusive as far as level of sensitivity , etc. and are not as accurate as skin testing. We will follow up with skin testing, but, if his levels are significant, I may request that the skin tests be done at the hospital, not in the doctor's office.

At the lab, I requested non-latex gloves and was told they did not have any!! Then the technician looked at the box and said "oh, they ARE latex free." I asked to see the box -"Powder-free LATEX gloves" with a big allergy warning on the box!! She then tracked down some vinyl gloves at a nearby pediatric office and proceeded to use a latex band to tie around my son's arm! She found an alternative when I made this observation. Wow! Be careful out there.

I still have many of the same questions/concerns as I wrote in the previous post, and would really appreciate some feedback. Thanks again.

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On May 12, 2000

regarding the RAST test. my latex RAST was negative. i had avoided contact with latex for over a year. naturally, this test turned out negative.

the allergist observed, however, nearly instant respiratory and skin reactions to latex and wisely concluded that i'm probably rather allergic to the stuff. she told me to avoid it at all costs.

ygg

On May 13, 2000

krasota/ygg:

I'm wondering what kind of skin testing your allergist did? My son's allergist wants to use a method where a piece of wet latex glove is placed on the arm, observed for reaction, then a prick is made through the skin, observed, followed by a part of a latex gloved placed on his hand. My son's CAP-RAST was negative, so the allergist also suggested that we challenge him with an actual balloon (his initial reaction was to a balloon). After doing some investigating via the web, all this sounds quite dangerous to me, especially for a two-year-old. It seems that allergists who are more familiar with latex allergies use specially formulated reagents which are made from crushed latex gloves and are more accurately measured in terms of latex content, so that the administration of the solution with skin prick is more controllable. How did your alergist test you? Has anybody looked into these issues before? Do you have PA or other food allergies which are known to cross-react with latex? Thanks so much for your response.

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On May 16, 2000

yonit, my allergist observed skin reactions. my skin reacted to the rubber tube that had been wrapped around my arm while blood was being drawn. i also reacted wherever the technician touched me using powder-free latex gloves. my skin was clean b/c she'd cleaned my arm for skin tests (prick tests).

i was being tested in the first place b/c i'd had lip and breathing problems from blowing up rubber balloons, rashes from band-aids, and problems with condoms.

i'd noticed the problems one year before i was tested and had avoided them all. we decided to test just to double-check. the RAST (blood test) was negative b/c of my long avoidance of rubber.

i also react to needles that are pushed through the reusable rubber lids on serum bottles.

ygg

On May 17, 2000

It seems like the latex allergy is becoming quite a concern with others too. I was at the dentist and he was using latex gloves to check my teeth and immediately my tongue and lips swelled up and my face had a bad rash. Luckily I had my epi-inhaler and ventolin with me. I have never been tested for a latex allergy, the thought of a severe reaction scares me. I just stay away from it.

On May 17, 2000

This may have been mentioned in another post, but anybody with latex allergy concerns should check out the following web site for links to a variety of latex allergy information: [url="http://home.netcom.com/~nam1/latex_allergy.html"]http://home.netcom.com/~nam1/latex_allergy.html[/url]

"ELASTIC" also sells stickers which you can put on your car windows to alert an emergency technician of your latex allergy. Sounds like a good idea.

To follow up on my son's situation, we've made an appointment (June 8th)with an allergist who is supposed to be an expert in latex allergy testing. He uses reagents which are made in Canada or France, which have measurable amounts of latex in them and are thus more "controllable" in administering as a skin prick. They start with a low concentration and move up to higher levels as they observe the reaction. We'll have to drive a couple hours to get there, and I feel like I'm running the risk of offending our local allergist, but I need to do what I feel is the best and safest for my son.

The allergist said that there is a group of individuals with PA who also seem more likely to develop LA.

I still feel ovewhelmed by the idea of dealing with yet another severe allergy, but at least I may have found someone who seems to know something about all this (though he was not eager to see a two-year-old - mostly because of their fears/emotional reactions to testing, etc). I'll post the results.

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[This message has been edited by Yonit (edited May 17, 2000).]

On May 18, 2000

Yonit, It sounds like we are in the same boat. Last weekend we were at a party and my son was playing with a balloon as we were leaving and on the way home his eyes swelled and he was itching so we pulled over and gave him some benedrayl, we thought maybe he ate something that we didn't see and then 2 nights later he was playing with my rubber gloves and the samething happened and he was sneezing and he swelled up. He has played with balloons before. I brought him to the allergist today and they sented him to the lab for a blood test and they did not have latex free gloves!!!He did ok though. At the allergist they gave me somethings to read. Its a little overwhelming!!Let me know how you make out.

On May 19, 2000

Jan - sorry to hear about your son's reactions. I'd be interested in hearing about his test results. Did they suggest skin testing also? How old is your son and how long has he been PA? If you haven't already done so, try to check out the links I posted above. We'll have to wait now until mid-June to get my son tested - it's hard to not know (although part of me doesn't want to know). Good luck.

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On May 20, 2000

Yonit, My son is 2 1/2. They didn't want to do skin testing now, maybe if the blood test comes back negative. We found out about his peanut allergy when he was a year old. He was much worse, he was allergic to everything!! We did the NAET and he is doing much better. I still will not try peanuts even though he was treated for it and his milk is still really bad. This year his enviroment allergies are also bad. They put him on Zyrtec and that seems to be helping. I don't know how I am going to keep him away from balloons. He loves them. Do you know what diapers can have latex in them??I know luvs and pampers don't. Thanks

On May 20, 2000

Jan, If naet helped him before, will you try it for latex?

On May 21, 2000

Jan - with regard to the diapers question, you may have read a long discussion thread on the subject recently, with some concern about Huggies, however, I believe the Huggies reps denied any latex content. My son uses either Pampers Premium or Huggies Supreme and has not had any problems. There are also long lists of latex-free products online at the A.L.E.R.T. site, which you can access through the link I posted before.

Did your son ever use latex pacifiers or nipples? That's my guilt asking that question - as Joshua did use both. Those would have been his most direct latex exposure. We switched to silicone, as he still uses pacifiers for sleeping an occasional bottles.

I'd also be interested in knowing if you will use NAET for the latex allergy.

On Jun 17, 2000

Yonit, Sorry it has taken me so long to get back. My son used the silicone nipples and pacifers. His blood work came back negative to latex but the allergist still thinks he's allergic to it because he had the two reactions to it. They were going to challenge him in the office with it, but decided they better not. On the way to the doctors I had brought the rubber gloves he was playing with and he got very congested just from them being in the car. They were saying the blood work is not 100% and its still new. They Said to make sure when he goes to the dentist to call ahead and tell them and I might want to get his medic alert bracelet changed to add latex. Yes, I will have him treated with NAET for the latex but I will still be very careful with it but I think just for piece of mind. How did you guys make out? Have a great weekend.

On Jun 17, 2000

Well, we took my son to a latex allergy specialist a couple days ago. The allergist uses a reagent he gets from France, where it is approved (there is no FDA approved reagent in the US). These skin prick serums can be measured, in terms of concentration, as opposed to the glove tests. We are still in limbo, though, after all that. The good news is that he tested negative to two levels of the reagent. However, the allergist had never tested such a young child, and because of Joshua's PA history, and the incident where his lip swelled with balloon-contact, the doc was reticent to go further with the next step, which would have been a glove challenge.

The recommendation was to use basic latex precautions (no balloons, latex gloves or medical equipment), add the "possible latex allergy" to his medic alert bracelet, and retest when he is older, maybe age 4 years (larger airways and stronger immune system). He also tested for several cross-reactive foods which were also negative. He said not to avoid the cross-reactive foods at this point. If he has a reaction to one of the foods, it would NOT likely be anaphylactic - and the reaction itself might give us the information we need about latex allergy, without resorting to a challenge at this point. The only food he said to wait on is kiwi - perhaps the proteins are more strongly related to latex - I didn't get to that question.

So, we'll add some more vigilance to our already vigilant lives, but we will try not to make ourselves crazy about this.

I feel mainly positive about the results, but still have an underlying anxiety about the unknown.

Thanks so much for following up, Jan. I'll be very eager to hear about the NAET results.

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