You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred immediately to a doctor who specializes in allergies (allergist).
To be sure you get the information you need, it's good to be prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Document any exposure to latex, when it occurred and what type of reaction you had.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications you're taking, including vitamins and supplements.
- Take a family member or friend, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions before your appointment will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. List your questions from most important to least important. For latex allergy, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- What are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What's the best treatment?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- How can I avoid contact with latex?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared, don't hesitate to ask for clarification of anything you don't understand.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Do you have any allergies, including hay fever or allergies to certain foods?
- Is there a history of allergies in your family?
- Have you been exposed to latex products?
- If you had symptoms after wearing latex gloves, how long did it take for the symptoms to develop?
- What surgeries have you had and when?
What you can do in the meantime
If you suspect you have a latex allergy, do your best to avoid contact with anything that contains latex.
Nov. 16, 2011
- Hamilton RG. Latex allergy: Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 20, 2011.
- Hamilton RG. Latex allergy: Management. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 20, 2011.
- Latex (natural rubber) allergy in spina bifida. Spina Bifida Association. http://www.spinabifidaassociation.org/site/pp.aspx?c=liKWL7PLLrF&b=2700271&printmode=1. Accessed Sept. 20, 2011.
- Latex allergy: A prevention guide. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/98-113/pdfs/98-113.pdf. Accessed Sept. 20, 2011.
- Latex allergy. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/Latex-Allergy.aspx. Accessed Sept. 20, 2011.
- Potential for sensitization and possible allergic reaction to natural rubber latex gloves and other natural rubber products. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib012808.html. Accessed Sept. 20, 2011.
- Spina bifida latex list. Spina Bifida Association. http://www.spinabifidaassociation.org/atf/cf/%7BEED435C8-F1A0-4A16-B4D8-A713BBCD9CE4%7D/SBA-LatexList-2011%20English.pdf. Accessed Sept. 20, 2011.