Latex allergy

Discussion in 'Exposure Suits' started by tracydr, Oct 14, 2001.

  1. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

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    I have developed a latex allergy, an occupational health hazard as a doctor. I get a rash really bad when I dive. I am thinking about taking the plunge and going for a drysuit since we are talking about diving either Baja or San Diego this December. First of all, are there any latex free suits of any type? I'm thinking a lycra skin might help, just bought one but haven't had a chance to try it yet. I assume a drysuit would be better since I can wear some form of undergarment even in warm water so that it's not touching my skin. Any suggestions? The other thing, what the heck do you do when you have to pee underwater in a dry suit? Does anyone else worry about this except me?
     
  2. roakey

    roakey Old, not bold diver ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Only the neck and wrist seals are latex, so an undergarment won't help there, unless you want to leak like a sieve.

    A neoprene suit typically (but not always) has a neoprene neck seal, so that’ll solve your neck problem, but the cuffs are typically still latex (someone help me out here, I have a shell suit) so the problem still exists around your wrists.

    Given the androgynous name “Tracy” I don’t know how to answer your pee question. If female, you typically only have the adult diaper route to go (no pun intended). If male, you can get a P-Valve. See: http://www.extreme-exposure.com/acc/dryaccessories.shtml.

    Roak
     
  3. BillP

    BillP Senior Member

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  4. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

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    Thanks everyone. By the way, I'm female, hope I don't have to resort to the adult diaper. I remember seeing a thread on this a long time ago on the women's forum,will have to go look for it.
    I think I could handle a rash on my wrists if it's just not the whole body. I have an older wetsuit and it must have some latex in it, does neoprene have latex? I know a lot of different types of rubber does.
     
  5. SubMariner

    SubMariner Victim of The Pogrom ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Sorry to hear about your alergy, T!

    Most drysuit manufacturers offer the option of latex OR neoprene seals. So I'm sure you can get a suit to your liking.

    For example, we have DUI trilams and opted for neoprene on both of them.

    Good luck!

    ~SubMariner~
     
  6. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

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    Thanks, I think I'm leaning toward the shell type. Any recs? Can I learn to use it on my own or do I really need a class? Our local dive shop wants $200 for a dry suit class. That seems a little steep.
     
  7. donooo

    donooo Scuba Instructor

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    Hi Tracy, I did a Dry Suit class for $130, included Dry Suit rental, class session, pool session and two dives. I think that was worth $130, so I guess I'd look a little harder. Also some of the manufactures have dealer days where you can try the suits out and a dive master/instructor goes out with you. I don't know that you "need" a class, but if you tie it together with rentals/dives/expeirence it can be worth while. Also lots of shops will throw in a "free or cheap" class with a Dry Suit purchase.

    good luck don O
     
  8. WetDane

    WetDane Manta Ray

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    Hey Tracy,

    $200 for a drysuit class is preposterous, I had the option of paying $50 and getting the sticker in the log book or not paying and getting no sticker... I didn't pay at all... If you buy a suit - you should get the class - it is not rocketscience, but there are tricks and things - ask them if they want you to wear ankle weights - it is a typical sign of people who have not bothered to learn how to use their suit... (IHMO).

    As far as the Latex goes - the seals are going to have it - the only way to get around it (I have a friend who has that precise problem), is to use a neoprene that is latex free - this is a little harder to find - but I believe that Diving concepts use a blown neoprene that is latex free. However, you should get this verified by your shop and make sure they ask the question properly - "we think so" is not a sufficient answer.
    Also, keep in mind that htere are rubber parts in your regulator and that you may want to have that equipment tested. YOu should ask your doctor about this - the last thing you want is a latex particle in your throat at 100 fsw...

    If you want more data I know a shop that has catered to this need in the past and have done a lot of research as far as what suits and what equipment is safe.
    If you want more info - drop me a private message and I'll send the shop data to you.

    Big T
     
  9. SubMariner

    SubMariner Victim of The Pogrom ScubaBoard Supporter

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    What make of shell? A toughie! There are many good manufacturers out there. Pearce & I both have DUI custom trilams with Rock Boots. Although this isn't my 1st drysuit, this is my first DUI (Pearce's 2nd; his other was a DUI CF200) and I really like it.

    As for training: get it! I don't care what agency it's from as long as you get good training from an Instructor who is experienced and well versed in the Specialty.

    A drysuit is NOT just another passive piece of dive equipment like a pair of fins. People can (and do) get seriously injured because they don't know how to use it safely or effectively.

    Good training includes things like confined water sessions, proper weighting, bouyancy control (trust me it IS different in a drysuit), etc.

    So by all means shop around for a good Instructor. But DO take the course!

    ~SubMariner~
     
  10. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

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    Thanks, I was hoping to buy a dry suit on line or even used. My shop gives the class free if you buy the suit through him but he only offers and recommends the neoprene style. Maybe if I go somewhere with more dry suit diving I can find a better price and more choices. I don't mind paying but I think this shop's classes are all priced too high. Unfortunately, not a lot real close to me so I do most of my dive stuff there. He has made me some good deals on trade ins so he's not all bad either. I never thought of my regulator having rubber. I better check that. When I had my surgery they had to use a special tube for my breathing because the normal one is latex, plus a lot of other OR equipment is latex too so that was fun. I would not want to have an allergic reaction in my airway, even if it is delayed until after I get out of the water!! I think I better start bringing an epinephrine shot along with my benedryl for diving, didn't realize how many things had latex!
     
  11. detroit diver

    detroit diver Great White

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    I use a Bare Trilam and love it. You can get it with either latex or neoprene seals, but I'm not sure of the latex content in the neoprene.

    It's self donning, and has a system called ATR (automatic torso recoil) to take up slack.

    Let me tell you about the first day that I went diving with this drysuit. I thought I was hot s**t before this dive. We went in a small local pond ( the one with the jellyfish if joewr is around) and I saw the surface at least 4 times more than I had planned on! My son had a great time laughing at me floating upside down when the air got into my boots! Not to mention when I got anywhere above 20 ft, I just kept going to the top.

    I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that you should DEFINATELY take some lessons. There are some quirks when diving dry. A good instructor will be able to get you thru many of them without too much frustration. It does get better on every dive, and I'm glad I did some shallow depths for my first dives.

    Let us know how you make out.
     
  12. WetDane

    WetDane Manta Ray

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    Hey Tracy,

    Another thing to consider is if you ever go to the coast - like WA or CA - ALL dive shops up here stocks at least a couple of difgferent lines of dry suits - neoprene and trilam... Many shops in will have demo days where you will have the option to try out different suits - see the fit of off the rack suits and talk to reps who knows what custom will do for you...

    And really - you should have a shop guy take your regulator setup apart and show you all the rubber in there - I think the hoses might have latex too??? There is a lot to think of with that issue.

    Big T
     
  13. rcontrera

    rcontrera Equipment Manufacturer

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    <B>(Edited to bring this up to date with our current manufacturing standards)<B>
    The majority of people that suffer from latex allergies are only allergic to natural latex ... the stuff that they make medical gloves and surgical tubing out of. We (OS Systems) use some stuff that is triple leached to remove proteins (the component that is thought to give the reaction).

    While I can't say that you definitely won't have a reaction to our stuff, many people that do have the same problem have told us that they had no reactions. You may want to try wearing a wrist seal for a couple of hours and see if you get a reaction. Any dive shop can order OS Systems seals for you to try and they may even lend you one if it means that they may make a drysuit sale.

    Just an idea!

    Ray
    http://www.ossystems.com
     
  14. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

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    I got a reaction from my wetsuit also, but it's very old so who knows what it's made of. Trying out a wetsuit is a great idea, I will try to do that next time I go somewhere like San Diego. Are there any good books on using the suit too?
     
  15. WetDane

    WetDane Manta Ray

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    Keep in mind that most all the neoprene out ther is made with latex of some sort. If you go to San Diego there is a shop - I forget the name, but I will find it for you.

    Big T
     
  16. donooo

    donooo Scuba Instructor

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    Try Ocean Enterprises in SD. Most to offer on display I've seen in that area. Get a manager to talk to though, watch out for the "clerks". Also maybe Ocean Planet in Tempe, I think I remember a supply there as they like to dive out of Catalina. In fact most of the dive shops in Tucson/ Phoenix sell something, just may not have the price or experience.

    adios don O
     
  17. DivingDoc

    DivingDoc Barracuda

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    There IS such a thing as latex-free neoprene, I just don't know if there are any wetsuit companies that use it. See the following link:

    http://www.allheart.com/welallatneop.html

    What type of reaction do you get to the latex? Is it an immediate urticarial-type reaction or is it a more eczematous delayed (2-3 days) hypersensitivity type reaction?

    If the former, it MIGHT help to simply premedicate with Zyrtec or Allegra and then make sure you rinse off as soon as you can after diving. If the latter, there is a cream called Ivy block which might work. it is meant to be applied before going out in the woods to prevent the Rhus protein from the Poison Ivy plants from penetrating through to your skin. Not sure if it would work in the water -- would probably depend upon the amount of water that pumped in and out of your wet suit.

    Another possibility for the latter problem would be to coat yourself with a mild steroid ointment such as Elocon ointment prior to donning the wetsuit.

    Best, of course, would be to avoid the latex if you can.
     
  18. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

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    Thank you. I usually break out the next day but it is a red,vesicular rash. Not urticarial. I do take an antihistamine before diving (allegra) so that my account for no more immediate reaction. So far I'm not terribly allergic, only had an all over breakout once. If I wear latex gloves more than an hour working I break out. If I wash immediately after it does help. I have never heard of the ivy block but will give it a try. The elocon idea is excellent too. I usually use the steroid after the fact, never tried it as a preventative. I will look at the latex free wetsuits. Do they make dry suits too? :doctor:
     
  19. jepuskar

    jepuskar Scuba Instructor

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    I am really trying hard not to go somewhere with this...really I am. Ok, I'll be good!

    ;)
     
  20. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

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    I'm confused, please elaborate on that last post!:confused:
     

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