Latex is a natural rubber product that can induce an allergic reaction in some people. Based on the person’s individual sensitivity, the reaction can be mild, such as a rash, or severe, up to and including anaphylaxis and death. Note that synthetic latex products, such as latex paint used in many households, are not made with natural latex and do not induce the same type of allergic response.
There is a close tie between latex allergies and many types of food allergies, including (but not necessarily limited to) apples, avocados, bananas, carrots, celery, chestnuts, kiwis, melons, papaya, raw potatoes, and tomatoes. Individuals who are allergic to one of these foods may also be allergic to latex, and vice versa.
These following guidelines can help prevent allergic reactions to latex.
- 1 Latex is commonly found in many medical devices, such as bandages, rubber gloves, IV and catheter tubes, syringes, and more.
- 2 Many consumer products contain latex as well, including rubber toys, balloons, sneakers, clothing, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers, and more.
- 3 The only way to prevent a latex reaction is to avoid products with latex in them.
- 4 Allergies can be triggered by airborne latex proteins, such as in powder from latex gloves.
- Remove all latex products from home and work.
- Inform medical personnel of allergic responses to latex.
- Consider getting tested for latex allergies if you are allergic to related foods.
- Carry an epinephrine auto-injector if you have a severe reaction to latex.