How I Became a Latex-Allergic Balloon Artist
Last updated: April 2023
As a child, I learned the magical art of balloon artistry from my ever-so-creative mother. She had, for as long as I could remember, learned how to DIY everything she could to save us money while giving us a fulfilling childhood during hard times.
Balloon artistry and latex allergies
Balloon artistry became quite a hobby for me as I grew older and bought my own balloons and materials. It was a way to bring fun to friends' birthday parties, spice up family gatherings, and even help break the ice at all of my office jobs during each coworker's birthday. I was truly having fun with it until one day, I realized that the skin on my fingers was behaving rather strangely.
Noticing an allergic reaction on my skin
I noticed my skin growing red and itchy and my cuticles peeling off. It reminded me of my bad reactions to soap as a coconut-allergic person, just not as severe.
Without thinking, I continued to pick up balloon art gigs part-time to supplement my income. No big deal, right? I thought that maybe I was just allergic to the lotion I was using.
The allergic reaction became severe
That was, until I showed up for the longest gig ever, a birthday party for my coworker's son, with a quirky Dr. Seuss theme that I absolutely adored.
I was hired to make balloons for about 3 hours, which was much longer than I usually spent with balloons. And the latex balloons for balloon art are some of the best in my opinion. They are flexible and have low popping probability - yet, for my hands, it was a high probability of popping skin I was about to learn!
And so that evening, I went home with my hands-on fire, it seemed, skin just peeling off. It was like being Freddy Kreuger in a Seuss-themed dress, a walking contradiction, confused about my own skin.
Coming to terms with a latex allergy
I rubbed on some Benadryl cream to get some relief. I thought, well, I must be allergic, but how? And why so suddenly? And then it hit me...
In my younger years, I did, in fact, have issues with latex, but I was not exposed to it for long each time so I had not noticed much. At the dentist, my tongue would feel weird after an exam because of the doctor's latex gloves. I had a poor experience as a young person when using condoms and had trouble with a particle mask and respirator in a welding class in college.
It all began to make sense.
Consulting with my doctor
So I called up my doctor, and we had a lengthy discussion. Considering my 26 food allergies, this was not the hugest surprise. After all, was said and done to confirm a mild latex allergy, I had to make a little adjustment to my lifestyle.
I have taken fewer requests for balloon art in recent years, but occasionally, you can still find me in a cubicle with a handful of my creations, hands washed carefully, with soothing lotion on.
Have your allergies ever affected your hobby or lifestyle before?
How often do you connect with others who have food allergies?