Can Latex Mattresses Cause Allergy?

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Last updatedLast updated: July 24, 2021
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You deserve a good night’s sleep after a hectic day, and your mattress plays an essential role in the quality of sleep you’ll get. Many people prefer latex mattresses since it’s one of the best types on today’s market.

Should you get a latex mattress? Around 1% of the US population is allergic to latex, in which case you may need a different kind of mattresses. That percentage is very low, but we can’t ignore that. There’s also the question of what causes latex mattress allergy. It’s worth it to do your research, so you don’t worry for no reason or place yourself or a family member in danger. Luckily there are other mattresses you can consider if you do realize you can’t use latex.

But if you want the best on the market, read up on this topic below so you can do your shopping with peace of mind.

What is latex material?

You may be used to seeing latex in the form of hospital gloves, tubing, and even toys. You’ll even find it in the paint. In that form, it doesn’t spark thoughts of natural elements, but latex can actually come from plants, although synthetic versions do exist.

Natural types of latex come from flowering plants, from which a fluid is extracted. This will usually be white, but some plants’ fluid is yellow, red, or orange. It contains various substances, like proteins, sugars, starch, and resin.

It requires the addition of the acid. Then the water is removed from this mix, and eventually, the substance is pre-vulcanized. Prevulcanization uses heat and chemicals to treat the latex mix, and especially by using heat, it eventually gets turned into the rubber material, most of know as latex.

If we are talking about synthetic latex products, it’s a petroleum-based chemical mix that manufacturers turn into rubber polymers.

What causes latex allergy?

Can Latex Mattresses Cause Allergy?

Did you know latex contains over 60 different substances classified as plant-based allergens? If you have an allergic reaction to latex, it will usually be because your body responds to the proteins in the latex. This can happen when your skin comes in contact with the latex product, although inhalation of particles coming from the material is also possible. The latter is especially relevant for people using latex gloves since the powder inside them can become airborne and often contains allergens.

Basically, your body will identify certain compounds as harmful and automatically triggers an immune response. That’s what manifests as something like a rash or hives. Unfortunately, some of the reactions and symptoms can cause discomfort and other problems to the individual.

Interestingly, you can even develop a latex allergy over time. So, you may not have any symptoms today, but it could be different a year from now. One of the main causes of this type of allergy is the result of repeated exposure to the substance.

If you’re someone who is allergic to latex, wearing a latex glove can expose you to enough of these proteins that you’ll start experiencing symptoms. Symptoms can be mild or adverse, which we’ll discuss more in detail below.

It’s important to note that not all latex products will have enough, if any, of these proteins to trigger an allergic reaction. The manufacturing process determines whether the proteins are removed from the substance or not.

Another factor is also how much of the proteins the latex contains. The amount of protein present in the latex will affect how your skin and body absorb, process, and react to it.

How do you know you have this allergy?

Since there’s such a small percentage of the population having this allergy, you may think it’s not a high priority to find out if you’ll react to latex. However, if you know you’re going to be in an environment with latex, it’s smart to get tested. This can be necessary if you know you’ll need to wear latex gloves a lot for work, or you want to make sure your child can safely play with latex toys.

To find out, you can go to your doctor for a simple skin test. If your skin shows a bump after the test, you’ll know to be cautious and take the necessary steps. For example, limit your exposure.
Can Latex Mattresses Cause Allergy?

What are the symptoms of latex allergy?

There are clear symptoms associated with latex allergies, such as:

Skin: Your skin may feel dry and itchy, or you’ll notice swelling in the area which came into contact with the latex. This could even become hives, blisters, or welts.

Pain and discomfort: A range of symptoms can cause you pain, such as cramping in your muscles or your abdomen. You may also experience headaches or a sore throat.

Eyes: Eyes can become itchy and red, or you may have tears.

Bodily reactions and breathing: Your body’s reactions could include sneezing and coughing. A very uncomfortable symptom is when your chest starts feeling tight, and you could struggle to breathe. Even reactions like vomiting, fainting, and rapid heartbeat are possibilities.

Blood pressure: In some cases, you could experience a drop in blood pressure.

The symptoms will be related to one of these types of allergies:

Allergic contact dermatitis: This is the less severe type of allergic reaction. The symptoms you can expect are usually skin problems and milder issues like eye irritations.

Anaphylactic shock: This is where the more severe symptoms will be seen. One of the biggest concerns with this type of reaction is that the extremely low blood pressure could mean your body isn’t getting enough oxygen to function properly.

All of this can make you nervous when you consider buying a latex mattress or other bedroom items like a latex pillow, right? Luckily, there’s good news on this topic, which we’ll share below.

Can latex allergy sufferers sleep on latex mattresses?

If you know you’re allergic to latex, don’t think you have to give up on owning luxurious products such as the Sunrising Bedding Natural Latex Mattress. With its pocketed coil springs, it provides the comfort one needs, and the latex top layer affords the utmost luxury. So, can you try it out safely?

Firstly it’s worthwhile to note that top products like these come from manufacturers that focus on selling safe products. They ensure that irritants and reagents aren’t part of the production process. Also, there won’t be bothersome smells, as is the case with some other latex items.

The bed industry, in general, doesn’t use latex that carries high risk, even for people with allergies related to latex. As mentioned above, the presence of allergens, such as proteins, depends on the latex production process. As long as the right process is followed, most proteins will be removed by the time the latex starts being used as part of mattress manufacturing.

Proteins can’t survive all environments, and therefore you can get latex without these allergens when it’s put through these steps:

Latex mattress components will come from latex foam. This foam is washed multiple times, and because it’s a foam substance, the water easily gets pulled into every part of it. When it’s wrung out, the water will take protein particles with it, lowering the levels of allergens.

The latex will also be put through a heating process called vulcanization. At those extreme temperatures, proteins are destroyed, so if anything was left over after the thorough washing process, it wouldn’t last past this step.

You can see the latex used in mattresses and pillows is vastly different from other types of latex, such as the stretchy substance used for gloves. This makes a latex mattress a very safe latex product to use, even for those with severe allergies.

The design of a mattress adds another safety measure to the product since you’ll very seldom come into direct contact with the latex layers. They’re covered by other fabrics like layers of wool, so the chance of your skin touching latex is minuscule.

Of course, if you’re aware of an extreme latex allergy, you shouldn’t take chances. It’s best to discuss it with your doctor before getting a latex mattress. The same goes for individuals who belong to high-risk groups, such as health care workers developing allergies because they’re exposed to latex more than many other people. Children with spina bifida can also be more at risk, so take care when picking out their beds and pillows.

Final thoughts

You may be shocked to think that a natural substance like latex and its proteins can be harmful to someone’s health. Luckily, with modern technology and manufacturing, and thanks to the wonders of science, you can have the advantages of latex without the risk.

It’s also worth trying out latex mattresses and pillows because they come with the features we all want, such as durability and breathability. They can even help more than some other types of mattresses if you’re battling back pain. So, do yourself a favor and try one out.

Nervous about the latex mattress allergy risks? Your doctor will quickly tell you if you need to be concerned. Also, you can always pick alternatives, such as the bamboo mattresses. Some hybrid models, including those from LUCID, are naturally hypoallergenic. And if you have more questions about this topic, don’t hesitate to leave your feedback below.

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