Facts about latex allergy

Two types of latex allergies exist — an immediate, systemic reaction to one or more of the natural rubber proteins, and a delayed reaction, typically limited to irritation and a rash at the area of contact, occurring 24 to 48 hours post-exposure, and related to the additives in the manufacturing process. Latex allergies can range from mild to severe and include skin redness, hives, headache, itchy eyes and tearing, scratchy throat, and respiratory distress. If the exposure continues, it can lead to life-threatening anaphylaxis. Exposure is not limited to medical products, such as gloves, blood-pressure cuffs, and catheters. Latex is found in many household products, including balloons; condoms; adhesive bandages and tape; pacifiers; baby bottle nipples; dishwashing gloves; Spandex; elastic; rubber bands; erasers; some carpeting; bicycle and racquet handgrips; swimming goggles; and shoe soles. Patients also may have a cross sensitivity to fruits and vegetables. Bananas, avacadoes, chestnuts, and kiwis have a high association, while apples, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, melons, and other produce are only a moderate concern. People with a latex allergy should avoid all exposures, wear a medical-alert bracelet, and always carry medications prescribed by their physician, such as an Epi-pen, nonlatex gloves, and written documentation of the allergy from a doctor. They also should inform all medical and dental providers, hospitals, and family, friends, coworkers, and employers about the allergy. Source

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