Latex Allergy

A latex allergy is an allergic reaction to proteins found in natural rubber latex, most commonly used in latex gloves. Dipped rubber latex is the most common latex allergy.

Symptoms

A latex allergy can range from mild to severe. Below are some of the common symptoms experienced.

  • mild reactions: itching, nasal congestion, redness
  • moderate reactions: sneezing, runny nose, difficulty breathing, hives, itchy skin
  • severe reactions: anaphylaxis

Common Latex Products

  • rubber gloves
  • balloons
  • rubber bands
  • baby bottle nipples
  • condoms
  • blood pressure equipment
  • intravenous tubing
  • surgical masks

Who is at Risk?

If someone has repeatedly been exposed to latex products, they have a greater chance of getting a latex allergy.

The following are people who have a higher risk of developing a latex allergy.

  • healthcare professionals
  • children with spina bifida
  • patients with recurrent medical procedures or surgeries
  • people who are exposed to latex in the workplace

Diagnosis

A latex allergy can be diagnosed through an allergy skin test, blood test or physical examination by an allergy specialist.

Prevention and Treatment

There is no cure for a latex allergy. Avoidance is the best possible treatment for a latex allergy.

People with severe latex allergies should carry epinephrine (know as an EpiPen) at all times and should consider wearing a medic-alert bracelet.

For severe allergic reactions, seek emergency medical attention.

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of latex allergies or to schedule an appointment with an allergist or asthma specialist, call 1-800-778-9923 or visit the Allergy & Asthma Center location near you.