Latex allergy: what it looks like and how it is managed

It is important to recognize it to avoid direct contact with latex, especially in hospitals.

It is important to recognize it to avoid direct contact with latex, especially in hospitals.

Latex is found in many objects, from those used in healthcare to commonly used products: gloves, catheters, but also diving masks, mattresses, toys, condoms and much more. In short, everything that is made of rubber, of which latex is the main component.

Although these are apparently harmless objects, the immune system in some cases can react abnormally following contact with this substance, giving rise to a real allergic reaction.

The categories most at risk

L ‘ allergy to latex can affect anyone, but are more at risk those who have had prolonged and repeated exposure to this material, first of all the workers of companies that produce rubber and healthcare personnel.


To these are also added children undergoing various surgeries at an early age (for example in the case of spina bifida or urogenital malformations) and asthmatic or allergic subjects especially to foods such as banana, kiwi, chestnut, avocado, etc.

Beware of symptoms

Being contained in a myriad of objects that we are used to handling daily, but also in a long list of materials used in the case of health procedures or surgery, it is extremely important to recognize the symptoms of a latex allergy, in order to arrive at a diagnosis. certain.

Understanding it is simple: it is sufficient to pay attention to any typically allergic reactions (such as swelling, itching , burning in the eyes, rhinitis , etc.) that are triggered when you come into contact with latex, for example following a medical examination or dentistry, but also using condoms or diaphragms, or even wearing fins and a mask or inflating a balloon.

Repeated contact worsens symptoms

The symptoms of this allergy are similar to those triggered by other allergens; the milder ones usually occur in the skin with the appearance of itching, redness and hives.

Conjunctivitis , rhinitis and asthma are also possible , but the most dangerous occurrence, as with all allergies , is anaphylactic shock.

Repeated contact with latex increases the allergic subject’s degree of sensitivity, and consequently also the severity of symptoms.

Prevention is the only cure

There is no real therapy against this allergy, beyond the common antihistamines to relieve the mildest symptoms.

The first step to control it is to be aware of it and therefore avoid direct contact with latex, especially in hospitals.

Patients with this allergy in fact run a serious danger if they are subjected to outpatient procedures, diagnostic investigations or surgery using material that contains latex: it is therefore good that they always carry a bracelet, a plate or a card that indicates this allergy. so that they are always inserted, even in cases of urgency, in a latex safe path, which foresees the use of materials, or even environments, completely free of latex.

Finally, there are some foods that contain proteins similar or identical to those of latex, such as banana, kiwi, avocado, chestnut, peanut, etc.

It is therefore possible for latex allergic subjects to also be sensitive to these foods, and therefore develop allergic symptoms following their ingestion.

It therefore becomes advisable to avoid consumption, or at least to check for any sensitization.


by Abdullah Sam
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