People with disabilities can be more susceptible to different kinds of allergies. Cure Medical gives the following information concerning allergies associated with Spina Bifida.
While latex allergies are not common for the general population, they are common for people who have spent a lot of time in hospitals, and Cure Medical states that people with Spina Bifida are at the top of the list.
The company references the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America by stating, “The highest risk [for latex allergy] is in children with Spina Bifida. More than three out of every five children with Spina Bifida are allergic to latex.”
People who have Spina Bifida are at a high risk for latex allergies because of the overexposure to latex proteins in Natural Rubber Latex. Cure Medical lists examples of products that have Natural Rubber Latex such as:
- rubber bands
- condoms and diaphragms
- rubber household gloves
- rubber balls and toys
- elastic in underwear
- athletic shoes
- baby bottles, nipples, and pacifiers
- poinsettia flowers (only the milky substance inside flower petals and leaves)
Cure Medical references the Spina Bifida Association by stating, “People who have Spina Bifida and catheterize; or have several surgeries from very early in life, such as bladder surgery or shunt revisions, are at very high risk for allergy because of a ‘cumulative’ effect over time.”
Suzanne McKee, RN, BSN, Care Coordinator for the Spina Bifida Program at Arnold Palmer Medical Center suggests contacting the product manufacturer to see if a product contains natural rubber latex. She says, “Contacting the manufacturer for product content information is relatively easy via the internet. Remember that all medical products/devices must be labelled if they contain natural rubber latex. This was mandated by the FDA in the late ‘90s.”
Vaccines and immunizations are potential sources of latex exposure depending on the type of syringe used.
Cure Medical states, “It’s important to differentiate, though, that not all latex products cause reactions. Synthetic latex, such as what’s found in latex paint, does not trigger the symptoms of natural rubber latex allergy.”
Foods That May Cause Allergic Reactions For People With Spina Bifida
Suzanne states, “Confusion often exists about latex allergy and cross-reactions with some food and plant proteins. The proteins in natural rubber latex are the “culprits” in causing an allergic reaction and some foods/plants have proteins that the body may react to in similar fashion.”
Foods such as bananas, avocados, kiwis, and chesnut have a higher probability of being cross-contaminated with latex. Be sure to check out the original post for a detailed list of foods that could be cross-contaminated.
Suzanne says that she does not advise her patients to avoid these foods but rather to be aware and educate themselves should a reaction occur.
Know The Symptoms Of Spina Bifida Allergies
The symptoms and reactions to different products or foods can vary significantly between individuals, even those that are related.
The Spina Bifida Association shares these symptoms to be aware of:
- Skin redness, hives or rash
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Scratchy, hoarse throat
- Wheezing and shortness of breath (asthma)
“The most serious allergic reaction to latex is anaphylaxis, a type of shock. An anaphylactic response to latex is a medical emergency."
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