When the savvy guy engages in any penetrative sexual activity, he does it the right way – by wearing a condom. Taking care to avoid sexually transmitted infections is a key component of excellent penis care, and most men are very astute in this regard. However, there are some cases where a man does the responsible thing, slips on a condom, and then pays a strange price later – the itching, burning, swelling, rashing and other symptoms that indicate a latex allergy. How can a man be expected to maintain a healthy penis if he can’t use the protection necessary to ensure that good health? Here’s what he needs to know.
What’s a latex allergy?
Latex is a natural substance derived from the rubber tree. It is used in a huge variety of products, but some of the most well-known are medical gloves (used in all medical settings) as well as condoms. Because latex can be stretched incredibly thin but still retain the ability to stop even the smallest of germs from passing through, it makes sense that it’s a perfect product to use for making barrier protections.
A latex allergy is just that – it’s an allergy to latex. For some, this allergy is extremely severe and shows up the moment they allow latex to touch their skin. For others, it takes time and repeated exposure to develop an allergy. That’s why some men can use latex condoms without problem for months or years, but then they suddenly develop the symptoms of a latex allergy. For some, the initial reaction to latex might not appear for 48 to 96 hours after exposure, so it makes sense that it might be tough to narrow it down to latex.
A latex allergy usually shows up with the same type of symptoms. These include a ring of rash near the base of the penis, where the condom was sealed tightly; a swollen and red penis tip, where the condom pressed during activity; raised blisters on the penis that might be itchy; swollen skin anywhere the condom touched, including fingers, hands and perhaps even thighs or the lips (if the condom came into contact with the mouth).
Those who suffer a severe reaction to latex might immediately have a runny nose and stinging eyes, as well as sneezing and other upper respiratory problems. They might suddenly find it tough to breathe or feel as though their chest is tight. Those who suffer a reaction like this should get to the hospital immediately, as these are the first signs of anaphylactic shock.
Treatment and prevention
When a man has a confirmed latex allergy, he will be treated just as if the allergy is to anything else. This might include a course of steroid therapy. A doctor will run tests to make sure the latex allergy is the culprit, and will then counsel the patient on what he needs to do to avoid the problem in the future.
Of course, avoidance is often the best option for those with an allergy like this. That means a man will need to look for condoms that do not contain latex. Often known as “natural” condoms, there are some on the market that claim to be hypoallergenic. Other types of plastic protections, such as those made of polyurethane, often provide adequate protection without the worries that come along with the use of latex
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