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Latex mattresses offer numerous benefits, but there's one group that tends to steer clear: healthcare professionals. After repeated exposure to latex products like gloves, they can develop an allergy to latex.
But latex allergies don't only affect healthcare professionals.
A recent study showed that nearly 4% of the global population may have a latex allergy, including 0.8% of children with Spina bifida.
Here is a breakdown of the population with latex allergy
|Latex allergy||Latex sensitization||Population (number of study subjects)||Country||Year reported||Ref|
|3.3%||Dental visitors (1,798)||USA||2013||52|
|1.8%||3.1%||HCWs unexposed to latex gloves (164)||South Africa||2013||5|
|0.8%||Spina bifida children under latex-free conditions (120)||Germany||2010||49|
Don't let a latex allergy keep you from experiencing the numerous advantages of a latex mattress.
With proper precautions, you can enjoy a comfortable and supportive sleep surface without sacrificing your health.
What is a Latex Allergy?
It is an allergic reaction to natural rubber latex derived from rubber tree sap. As a result of prolonged exposure to latex products, a protein is released which causes this reaction. The immune system releases antibodies in response to this protein, considering it a harmful substance.
Signs Of Latex Allergy
Symptoms of Latex allergy can be mild to severe. The mild symptoms include itching, hives, rashes, and redness of the skin.
A few people can develop severe symptoms like running nose, sneezing, watery eyes, throat irritation, cough, and difficulty in breathing, leading to a more severe condition known as anaphylaxis.
It is important to note that anaphylaxis does not occur on first contact but rather continues exposure starting with milder symptoms that later develop into a severe condition.
Types of Latex Allergies
There are three types of Latex Allergies:
- IgE-mediated allergic reaction (Type I)
- Irritant Contact Dermatitis.
- Cell-Mediated Contact Dermatitis (Type IV)
IgE-mediated allergic reaction is life-threatening as it is triggered by a protein in the latex that leads to the creation of an IgE antibody.
The reaction occurs when the latex comes into direct contact with
- the skin.
- the mucous membrane of the nose, mount, and eyes.
- Or you breathe in latex particles, and it reaches your lungs.
Irritant contact dermatitis is the mildest allergic reaction to latex as it does not trigger the human immune system. The attack is mostly restricted to rashes, itchiness, redness, and cracking of the skin.
Allergic contact dermatitis or cell-mediated contact dermatitis is not life-threatening but can lead to delayed immune response when skin is exposed to long hours of exposure to rubber products. It is a Type IV hypersensitivity and reaction.
The chemicals present in the rubber cause allergic reactions. The following symptoms may appear within a day or two.
- The appearance of pustules or vesicles.
Can I sleep on a latex mattress if I'm allergic to latex?
In the previous section, we shared the three types of allergic reactions. If you suffer from a mild latex allergy, you can use the latex mattress.
You will never be in direct contact with latex as all quality latex mattresses have a comfort layer above the latex layer made up of organic cotton or wool. Additionally, all the layers will be zipped under the mattress cover, and on top of it, there will be a bedsheet.
The skin will be well shielded from coming into contact with the latex.
A person with a severe latex allergy should always avoid latex mattresses or their products.
Should I Buy a Latex Mattress if I have a Latex Allergy?
As discussed, yes you can buy a latex mattress if you have a mild latex allergy, but to be on the safe side buy a latex pillow to check for any allergic reactions.
Alternatives to Latex Mattress to Avoid Allergic Reactions
The best alternatives to latex are memory foam and synthetic latex. Both are man-made materials that do not use natural rubber.