Latex products; Latex allergy; Latex sensitivity
If you have a latex allergy, your skin or mucous membranes (eyes, mouth, nose, or other moist areas), or blood react when latex touches them. A severe latex allergy can affect breathing and cause other serious problems.
Latex is made from the sap of rubber trees. It is very strong and stretchy. So it is used in a lot of common household items and toys.
Items that may contain latex include:
Other items that are not on this list could also contain latex. You may even develop a latex allergy if you are allergic to foods that contain the same proteins that are in latex. These foods include:
Some other foods that are less strongly linked with latex allergy include:
Latex allergy is diagnosed by how you have reacted to latex in the past. If you developed a rash or other symptoms after contact with latex, you may be allergic to latex. Your doctor can use allergy skin testing to see if you have a latex allergy.
A blood test can also be done to help your doctor tell whether you are allergic to latex.
Always tell any doctor, nurse, dentist, or person who draws blood from you that you have a latex allergy. More and more, people wear gloves in the workplace and elsewhere to protect their hands and avoid germs. These tips can help you avoid latex:
Carry a pair of vinyl or other non-latex gloves with you and have more at home. Wear them when you handle items that:
For children who are allergic to latex:
Your doctor may prescribe epinephrine if you are at risk of a severe allergic reaction to latex. Know how to use this medicine if you have an allergic reaction.
Call your doctor if you think you may be allergic to latex. It is easier to diagnose a latex allergy when you are having a reaction. Symptoms of latex allergy include:
If a severe allergic reaction occurs, call 9-1-1 right away. These symptoms include:
Pien LC. allergy. In: Cleveland Clinic. Current Clinical Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010: section 1.
Reddy S. Latex allergy guidelines. In: Pfenninger JL, Fowler GC, eds. Pfenninger & Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2010: appendix C.
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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