Latex Allergy Checklist

When you're sensitive to latex, you can get a reaction from balloons, bath mats, elastic bands, and many other products made with it, including some you may not expect. The best thing to do is avoid them.

Here's how you can stay safe.

At Home

Use non-latex gloves for cleaning, washing dishes, and other household chores.

Check your clothes for elastic waistbands or rubber soles. Even the elastic in socks and swimsuits can have latex.

Don't wear rubber raincoats and rain boots. They can have it, too.

Check your bathroom for latex condoms, rubber bath-mats, and rubber grips on toothbrushes.

At Work and School

Use paper clips instead of rubber bands. Don’t use erasers, either.

Stay away from craft items like paint and rubber cement.

If you work where people wear gloves -- cleaning, food service, or beauty work, for example -- ask to switch to latex-free products.

In Medical Offices or Hospitals

Call ahead before any appointment and tell them about your allergy.

Set your appointment for the first thing in the morning. There's less chance that latex particles will be in the air then.

Tell all doctors, nurses, and schedulers about your allergy . Everything from stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs to IV tubing can have latex.

Other Tips

Be careful with antihistamines . They may hide your reaction to any latex in the air.

Wear a medical ID bracelet or carry a card that lists your allergy.

Check labels on everything. Don't assume that something labeled "hypoallergenic" is latex-free.

If you know you might have a serious allergic reaction , carry two epinephrine injections, like an EpiPen.

Watch what you eat. Some people with latex allergies have reactions to foods such as:

  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Kiwis
  • Chestnuts
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar, MD on April 14, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Latex Allergy."

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Latex Allergy."

Cincinnati Children's: "Latex Allergy."

New York State Department of Health: "Latex Allergy - Information for Health Professionals."

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