Contact Dermatitis or Latex Allergy?

Contact Dermatitis or Latex Allergy?

Elizabeth Scott

Red, puffy, itchy, dry patches around the eye area can be concerning and uncomfortable. After a fun filled Labor Day weekend that included a long day at the pool with googles on, my son started to get red, rough rings around his eyes. We thought they would go away after a good night’s sleep but in the morning, they were still there with some very puffy eyes. His eyes didn’t itch and he still wanted to go to school. He said he didn’t mind that he looked like the Target Dog! I guess he thought it was a good thing? I made a call to our doctor and was instructed to get some 1% hydrocortisone creme and to consider latex allergy testing.

The red rings started to go away after putting a damp wash cloth each morning and night and then adding a small amount of the steroid crème. We were essentially using what we learned from the soak and seal technique and it did improve his skin. Now that the red and rough skin has improved we're continuing to place a damp wash clothing and use a bit of emollient under his eyes at night after showering and again in the morning.  But it's still not completely gone. So, how do you determine if it’s contact dermatitis, fall allergies or a latex allergy caused by his googles?

Irritant contact dermatitis is common, nonallergic, and develops as dry, itchy, irritated areas on the skin around the area of contact. It can be caused by chemicals, such as chlorine, and excessive perspiration. A latex allergy is more serious and for some can cause anaphylaxis. A true latex allergy, according to information for the Centers for Disease Control website, “It usually begins within minutes of exposure but can sometimes occur hours later. It produces varied symptoms, which commonly include runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, hives, and itchy burning sensations. However, it can involve more severe symptoms including asthma marked by difficult breathing, coughing spells, and wheezing; cardiovascular and gastrointestinal ailments; and in rare cases, anaphylaxis and death.” If you suspect you or your child has a latex allergy it’s important to have a skin-prick test to determine so you can prevent contact with latex at places such as the dentist.

We don’t know yet if our son has a latex allergy.  It could have been caused by the chlorine in the pool or his eyes rubbing against the googles too long. However, we were careful the next week when the poor guy had to have three teeth pulled. We asked the dentist to use non-latex gloves and notified the office that it’s something we’re considering.  Our son made it through just fine and our next step will be to have him tested for the latex allergy so we can be sure how to handle. For more information on contact dermatitis and latex allergy visit, the CDC website. And for more information about using a topic steroid visit the National Eczema Association.

Please remember information on our blog is not designed or meant to replace a physician’s advice. Always consult your doctor about your medical conditions. AD RescueWear does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.