Latex Precautions

Latex Precautions

by Maia Wrobelski

I am sure that everyone who has ever had a latex allergy is used to seeing this warning: "Caution this product may contain latex which can lead to serious allergic reactions for some people." Of course, the consumer always has the question of how serious the manufacturer is about the warning. Are they talking about the packaging process, the plant in which in was package, the actual product, or the possibility of the product causing a reaction? The reason manufacturers do this is because they don't want to be held responsible for a reaction caused by any part of the manufacturing process. Unfortunately, for people with latex allergies this can become a problem. I am one of those lucky few that has to play the guessing game every time I go to the store, and if that wasn't bad enough; it has now become necessary to watch for these problems at the doctor's office. Some medications are mixed using latex rubber balls, or stoppers. I recently went to receive a mennegincoccal vaccine and an influenza (flu) shot. I was unable to receive the mennegincoccal shot because the label indicated that it might contain components that may have come in contact with latex. Although the shot was not required, I was being denied a vaccination that I had a right to be receiving.

The flu shot was a little different. I was lucky to have a great pharmacist that looked through all of the packaging and was able to assure me that the shot medication, and the needle did not come in contact with latex. It was only the packaging, and the nurse was careful not to touch the latex when removing the shot. I don't think that this is a type of problem a person should have to worry about when going to the doctor for a shot. This is also very important information that is not really public. Although they may publish it on paper, it is not widely known. I was lucky to have wonderful doctors who were watching out for me, but it is a problem that needs to be addressed. I have included the address of a specific manufacturer of the mennegincoccal vaccination. I wrote to them to let them know the concern I have because I couldn't protect myself with a vaccine because of their manufacturing process. Please feel free to let them know how you feel about this issue.

If you have additional tips you would like to share, send them to Julie@fvkasa.org. Feel free to distribute widely, with attribution. Thanks.

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