How can a latex allergy be diagnosed?

Talk to your doctor about your signs and symptoms and when they occur. Keep an eye out for any latex that you wear or touch, even days before your symptoms appear. Also watch if you develop any allergic symptoms after eating certain types of fruit. Your doctor may ask you whether you have any other allergies, and may ask you for more details about your signs and symptoms. You may also be asked if you have had any operations (particularly as a child) or if you ever had spina bifida, a meningeal cyst, or any urogenital abnormalities. You may be asked if you ever had allergic symptoms following medical or dental procedures as well. Your doctor may come up with a diagnosis, or a list of possible things that might be causing your problems.

There are a few diagnostic tests that can aid or confirm a diagnosis. Skin tests can be used, however, there is a risk of anaphylaxis in people who suffer from Type I hypersensitivity reactions to latex. Skin tests are also not very accurate and reliable – at least 20 % of people who are shown to be non-allergic using skin tests might actually have an allergy. Skin testing may be appropriate if you suffer from irritant contact dermatitis or Type IV hypersensitivity to latex, as there is no risk of anaphylaxis.

Blood tests can be more useful. An important blood test is known as the RAST, which stands for radioallergosorbent test. This is far more accurate and reliable than skin tests. It involves reacting IgE in your blood with chemicals from latex. This is done for people who suffer from Type I hypersensitivity reactions to latex, as there is no risk of any anaphylaxis.

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