Are You Allergic to Latex?
Doctors diagnose a latex allergy in people who:
- Have had symptoms of an allergic reaction -- like a skin rash, hives, eye tearing or irritation, wheezing, itching, or trouble breathing -- when exposed to latex or a natural rubber product
- Are known to be at risk for a latex allergy and blood or skin tests show that they have it, even if they haven’t had symptoms.
If you need a skin test to check on a latex allergy, an allergy specialist must supervise it, in case you have a severe reaction.
If the symptoms are irritant contact dermatitis, antihistamine or corticosteroid medicines may be enough to treat the symptoms. If your reaction is severe, you may need epinephrine, IV fluids, and other emergency medical care.
If you have a latex allergy, wear a MedicAlertbracelet or another type of ID in case of an emergency. You may also need to carry two epinephrine shots if your doctor recommends that.
Changes to Make at Home
A allergy to latex can become worse the more you come in contact with it. So if you know you have this condition, be aware of products that may have the potential to cause a reaction. Ask your doctor if you need to avoid them.
Many items have latex in them. You may need to ask product makers to be sure.
Home goods that are made with latex include:
- Rubber sink stoppers and sink mats
- Rubber or rubber-grip utensils
- Rubber electrical cords or water hoses
- Bath mats and floor rugs that have rubber backing
Toothbrushes with rubber grips or handles
- Rubber tub toys
- Sanitary napkins (that contain rubber)
- Condoms and diaphragms
- Diapers that contain rubber
- Adult undergarments that contain rubber
- Waterproof bed pads containing rubber
- Undergarments, socks, and other clothing with elastic bands that contain rubber
- Adhesives such as glue, paste, art supplies, glue pens
- Older Barbie dolls and other dolls that are made of rubber
- Rubber bands, mouse and keyboard cords, desktop and chair pads, rubber stamps
- Mouse and wrist pads containing rubber
- Keyboards and calculators with rubber keys or switches
- Pens with comfort grip or any rubber coating
- Remote controllers for TVs or recording devices with rubber grips or keys
- Camera, telescope, or binocular eye pieces
- Bathing caps and elastic in bathing suits
Outside the home, latex is also in many items, such as:
- Grocery store checkout belts
- Restaurants where workers use latex gloves to prepare food
- Some balloons
- Car races that give off tire and rubber particles
- ATM machine buttons made of rubber
Medical products containing latex include: