It’s imperative to always advocate for yourself and remind your physicians, medical staff, and yes, even your dentist of any allergies you may have especially to latex. EVEN if it’s in your chart. As we all know, sometimes the medical staff doesn’t look at all the chart notes and your allergy may be overlooked causing problems to YOU.
Though many hospitals and dental offices have switched to non-latex gloves, some still use latex. Though research states that less than 1% of individuals are allergic to latex, I believe that number may in fact be higher and individuals are merely not aware of their allergy, attributing discomfort to other issues or overlooking it because of anxiety.
An allergic reaction can be as simple as irritation or as severe as anaphylaxis. Thus, ensure to remind your medical and dental providers that you are allergic to latex and ensure their gloves are free of it.
Here’s a recent incident I had along these lines: Yesterday, I went to get my teeth cleaned. My dentist noticed I had a cavity and as she’s checking out my cavity, I noticed my gums started to “tingle” and get irritated. When I inquired if she was wearing latex gloves and reminded her that I am allergic to latex, she immediately apologized, removed the latex gloves, and put on non-latex ones. It took a few hours for the irritation to dissipate despite my brief encounter with the latex. Yes, my allergy to latex IS in my chart. They missed it. This is why it’s imperative that you always advocate for yourself and speak up if there’s any discomfort or you have questions.
On a side note: if you are using condoms, and have an allergy to latex or experience discomfort when wearing condoms, ensure your next condom is not latex based. Allergic reaction can be irritation and rash on the penis or vagina–yes, ladies, irritation inside the vaginal canal is also possible. But there are options to latex. There are polyurethane and polyisoprene condoms available on the market by several manufacturers which are just as effective as latex condoms.
One of the most popular types of non–latex condoms is the polyisoprene condom. This substance is thinner than latex and has a natural feel that is said to be very similar to human skin. They also have more flexibility, fit better and are less likely to break. So next time he says he want’s it to “feel natural”, hand him a polyisoprene condoms. One company out there is called SKYN condoms. They may be a little more expensive then latex condoms but your pleasure is worth it.