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Old 07-29-2014   #1
Cullowhee, North Carolina
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3
Dry Top Latex Reaction

A couple of weeks ago I was white water kayaking, new to the sport this year. We were on the river approximately 6.5 hours. When removing my dry top, my fellow kayakers were alarmed to see that I had welts around my neck. It was mentioned to me (we had a medic with us that day), that I was experiencing an allergic reaction to the latex in my dry top. I did not encounter any breakout on my wrists, only my neck. The swelling did go down but I was left with a rash around my neck. It took over a week to clear up; some people thought that I tried to hang myself.
So what can you do in this case? I cannot wear my dry top as is again.
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
Please reply if it is related to this issue, thank you.

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Old 07-29-2014   #2
smauk2's Avatar
Near water (hopefully), Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 770
I've gone through the exact same process as you and it sucks! Mine would welt, dry out, and peel. It was so itchy and uncomfortable.

There are a few different possibilities so I'll try and address them.

Did you have a bad sunburn when you were kayaking? I used to have no issues at all with the latex but then I had a really bad sunburn on my neck and this seemed to cause a reaction that lasted well after the sunburn.

How old is your dry-top? I've noticed as my gaskets get older they start to irritate my skin more. Maybe it's due to the micro sands that get engrained in it and they rub all day or maybe there is just some nasty bacteria that likes to mess with the skin. Either way I think old gaskets exacerbate the problem.

When I went on the Grand last year I had to figure out a solution unless I wanted to have blistering awful skin for the whole trip. I took some pantyhose and cut them to fit around my neck. This worked like a charm! The physical barrier prevented my neck from becoming severely irritated. In addition I would immediately rinse my neck in the river as soon as I took off the dry top. Afterwards I would apply some cortisone cream and this really helped.

You could also look at neoprene gaskets. They aren't as dry as latex but they are more comfortable and way less irritating.

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Old 07-29-2014   #3
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
Where can one purchase neoprene wrist gaskets? I have a top with a neo neck and I want to replace the wrists with neoprene, but haven't been able to find any.

Sorry to hijack the thread. Kokatat has a new lambskin gasket that's extra sensitive.
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Old 07-30-2014   #4
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 179
Replace it with one of the new sheepskin gaskets.
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Old 07-30-2014   #5
Keystone, Colorado
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 33
Immersion Research has a material they sent to my boyfriend that worked out well for him. He has a severe latex allergy and didn't have any reaction to this stuff. I just cannot remember what it's called. Email them though and they will send you samples to wear for a few hours to see if you have any reaction.
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Old 07-30-2014   #6
Cullowhee, North Carolina
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3
TY, I will look into this. Pantyhose makes sense and also the 303 lubricant. No sunburn. I do have an appt with the dermatologist in August for my annual exam so she can look into seeing if I do have latex allergy. Scuba dived since 1992 and never had any issues. This dry top is old, I bought it from a friend of mine. However, I have a new dry top that I wore once and in one hour I was getting a reaction but nothing like the one I got on the old dry top plus I was out in the river for over 6 hours.
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Old 07-30-2014   #7
Cullowhee, North Carolina
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3
TY, I will call them.
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Old 07-30-2014   #8
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,346
OS Systems does neo wrist gaskets too. OP search the forum as this has been discussed a couple of different times with a lot of good info.

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