Latex Allergy


Aller­gic reac­tions to prod­ucts made with latex occur when the immune sys­tem over­re­acts to the pro­teins found in nat­ur­al rub­ber latex. Nat­ur­al rub­ber latex comes from the sap of the rub­ber tree and can cause an aller­gy where­as syn­thet­ic latex, rub­ber made from chem­i­cals, does not pro­duce an aller­gic reaction. 


Latex is a com­mon com­po­nent used in many med­ical sup­plies and con­sumer products. 

The most com­mon items con­tain­ing latex include:

  • Dis­pos­able gloves
  • Med­ical sup­plies-tub­ing, syringes, catheters, ban­dages, etc.
  • Con­doms
  • Bal­loons
  • Ath­let­ic shoes
  • Waist­bands in pants and underwear
  • Baby paci­fiers and nipples


A latex aller­gy typ­i­cal­ly devel­ops over repeat­ed expo­sure. Once an aller­gy has been estab­lished, symp­toms usu­al­ly appear with­in min­utes of expo­sure to latex con­tain­ing products. 

The most com­mon latex aller­gy symp­toms include:

  • Skin rash or hives
  • Itch­ing
  • Wheez­ing or oth­er breath­ing problems
  • Swelling
  • Ana­phy­lax­is


To diag­nose a latex aller­gy, you can meet with an aller­gist who will dive into your health his­to­ry look­ing for any con­sis­tent trig­gers to deter­mine if your symp­toms are aller­gic or non-aller­gic. Your aller­gist may also rec­om­mend a blood test to deter­mine a latex allergy.

Man­age­ment and Treat­ment

The best treat­ment for a latex aller­gy is avoid­ance of prod­ucts con­tain­ing latex. You should also inform all health care providers of your aller­gy before you see them for any test or treatment. 

If your latex aller­gy is life threat­en­ing, injectable epi­neph­rine is usu­al­ly pre­scribed as emer­gency med­ica­tion for treat­ing a life-threat­en­ing allergy.