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Latex Balloon Allergy

by Kerrie
(New Jersey)

Balloon Safety for Latex Allergies - Get The Facts

Balloon Safety for Latex Allergies - Get The Facts

We are in the process of getting our ideas ready for an 8th grade dance... along with all the other decorations we have incorporated balloons.

There is now a mom who has said she is allergic to latex. She is concerned that if a balloon should pop at the dance her son could get the latex on his clothes and then come home and she would be affected.

Is this possible, that latex could stay on clothes and then affect a person who is allergic to latex? She was at a meeting the other night where balloons were in the room and actually blown up. The next day she said she felt her throat closing up, but she did not leave the meeting.

How to Deal with Latex Allergies: Tips for Your School Event

Hi Kerrie,

Latex allergies happen when someone's body overreacts to the proteins found in natural rubber latex. For people with this allergy, their immune system treats these proteins as harmful invaders and triggers an allergic response.

The main issue with latex balloons is that when they're inflated, handled, or popped, they can release tiny latex particles into the air. These particles contain the proteins that can cause allergic reactions.

If someone with a latex allergy breathes in these particles or gets them on their skin or eyes, it could potentially trigger a reaction. Reactions can range from mild irritation to severe, life-threatening symptoms.

Now, about the dance and the mom's concerns – it's possible for latex particles to land on clothing and surfaces if balloons have been handled or popped in the room.

However, the risk of her son bringing home enough latex particles on his clothes to cause the mom a significant reaction is generally pretty low, albeit not zero.

The bigger worry is the mom being directly exposed to latex particles at the dance itself. If latex balloons are there and some pop, the particles released into the air could potentially trigger a reaction for her, based on her past experience of throat tightening around inflated latex balloons.

Here are some suggestions:

Avoid latex balloons entirely by using alternative materials like foil or bubble balloons for decorations. That completely eliminates latex exposure risk.

If using latex balloons:
  • Make sure the venue is well-ventilated to help disperse latex particles.

  • Don't let people intentionally pop or roughly handle the balloons.

  • Have a designated "latex-free" area for the mom and others with allergies.

  • Have the son change clothes and shower as soon as he gets home to remove any potential latex particles.

The safest option might be for the mom to skip the dance if latex balloons will be used, so she doesn't risk a severe reaction.

The main thing is keeping everyone safe. Open communication with the mom, understanding her specific concerns, and taking appropriate steps to minimize latex exposure will be crucial for an enjoyable, worry-free event.

Let me know if this breakdown makes sense or if you need any clarification!

Comments for Latex Balloon Allergy

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Alcoholism and latex exposure are NOT comparable
by: Julie

There are some choices in life, wherein we have no control. You may CHOOSE to take a drink or not. One has no choice in exposure to a contaminated environment filled with natural rubber latex particles. To make such an analogy is ludicrous. Similar to smoking in public, which has been banned in many areas.

To say that others should not accommodate limiting exposure to people who cannot tolerate such a toxin shows little educational background for the gravity of this allergy.

Need more knowledge - please show some initiative and look it up.

Best wishes with your intolerance and public recognition and empathy of such.

Particles absolutely a hazard
by: SLOs

Hi there!
Writing from personal experience. I am Type 1 allergic that natural rubber latex, including airborne exposures, up to and including anaphylaxis.

I once had anaphylaxis in the car after picking up my daughter from school. Her class had played with balloons during PE in the multi purpose room. My daughter had been made to sit to the side, but she still picked up enough particles for me to go into anaphylaxis within minutes of being with her.

It is not safe, and the school should be able to accommodate the allergy of a family member, and, in the US, there are legal avenues under the ADA if accommodation is refused.

Change everyone for yourself
by: Mark

I believe that, yes indeed, people have latex allergies, and for them I feel badly. I do not believe that the world should change for YOU. The world does not rotate around you.

When you have allergies, it is up to you to protect yourself from whatever you are hyper-sensitive to and not up to everyone around you to change their life for you.

I am an alcoholic... It is not up to you to not have a beer or a cocktail because it adversely affects me. It will kill me, but that is not your problem, it is mine and mine alone. It is up to me to know when and where there is alcohol and NOT to be in those places or have that drink.

Remember, it is not up to the world to change for you, it is up to YOU to make allowances for YOUR problems.

Latex allergy is deadly serious
by: Leanna

Latex allergies are not like other allergies. They are directly caused by exposure to natural rubber latex proteins, and every exposure worsens the allergy until it changes to Type I, airborne anaphylactic.

There is no safe level of exposure to natural rubber latex (NRL) proteins for anyone, particularly someone with a latex allergy.

When it comes to latex balloons and latex gloves, they are manufactured from dipped rubber. While all forms of rubber utilizing natural rubber are dangerous, this is the most dangerous form as it so easily sheds particles.

Consider glitter, or pollen. It gets everywhere and on everything- and there is nothing you can do about it! Just because you don't see the pollen, it doesn't mean that it isn't in the air, on you, or that you aren't breathing it in.

Considering that up to 7% of the population has a latex allergy (and most medical professionals dismiss as "no big deal" despite their lack of education), latex balloons simply have no place in modern society. Mylar balloons are a better option, or better yet- not balloons at all! There are plenty of options for decorating that do not utilize one-time-use products that unnecessarily pollute our environment and actively cause harm to animals.

Most individuals with latex allergy would not be able to have their child attend the dance. Please consider banning latex balloons from the school. Some people don't realize they have a latex allergy until their throat closes on them. Speaking from personal experience, being unable to breathe is absolutely terrifying and an experience I would wish upon no one.

It can literally take years for a building contaminated by latex gloves or balloons to be safe for an individual with latex allergy to enter.

Think glitter that can kill.

Please listen closely to the parent with latex allergies. Her life depends on it.

Latex proteins
by: Anonymous

Latex proteins stay in the air for at least 5 hours and stay on hair and clothes. If any family member go into a room with balloons they can’t go home without showering and changing their clothes

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