Latex Allergy

Latex is a natural product which comes from the light milky fluid extracted from the rubber tree. This milky fluid is often modified with chemicals during the manufacturing process to form a latex mixture. Natural rubber latex is often found in household products such as balloons and condoms. and in medical products such as stoppers on syringes, blood pressure cuffs, oxygen tubing, and catheters. The powder of surgical gloves was a significant problem before appropriate substitutes were developed, as the powder could be inhaled and could lead to respiratory difficulties.

Approximately 50% of people have a history of another type of allergy like fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, chestnuts, kiwi, avocado and tomato can cause allergic symptoms in some latex-sensitive individuals.

Latex Allergy Diagnosing

People with Latex allergy, have experienced with  a skin rash, hives, eye tearing or irritation, wheezing, itching, or trouble breathing when exposed to latex or a natural rubber product.

If you need a skin test to check on a latex allergy, an allergy specialist must supervise it, in case you have a severe reaction.

Types of Latex Allergy

There are three types of latex reactions

1. Irritant contact dermatitis. This is not an allergic skin reaction. It usually happens due to repeated exposure to chemicals in latex gloves and leads to dryness, itching, burning, scaling, and skin problems.

2. Allergic contact dermatitis. This is a delayed reaction to additives used in latex processing. It results in the same type of reactions as irritant contact dermatitis. But the reaction is more severe, spreads to more parts of the body, and lasts longer. Symptoms can start up to 4 days after contact with latex.

3. Immediate allergic reaction (latex hypersensitivity). This one is the most serious. It can show up as a nasal allergy with hay fever-like symptoms, conjunctivitis (pink eye), cramps, hives, and severe itching. It’s rare, but symptoms may also include rapid heartbeat, tremors, chest pain, trouble breathing, low blood pressure, or anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening.

Treatments for Latex Allergy
  • Antihistamine or corticosteroid medicines may be enough to treat the symptoms, if the symptoms are irritant contact dermatitis.
  • If the reaction is severe, emergency medical care is needed. Doctors may use epinephrine, IV fluids for the treatments.

Prevent Latex Allergy

The only treatment for latex allergy is to prevent any contact with latex products.
Use non-latex products.
Ask your health care workers to use latex-free gloves.
Check labels to make sure products do not contain latex.


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