Latex Allergy: Symptoms and Treatment

The best way to treat this type of allergy is to stay away from latex. If you’re exposed, get away from it ASAP.

Mild Reaction

Watch for these uncomfortable -- but not dangerous -- symptoms:

If your skin is red and itchy at the spot where you touched latex, or your nose gets stuffy and you sneeze, don’t worry too much. Those symptoms are uncomfortable but not dangerous.

Take an antihistamine or try a soothing lotion like calamine or a 1% hydrocortisone cream. Skip antihistamine creams or gels. They might make your skin feel worse.

Delayed Reaction

Symptoms can show up anywhere from 12-36 hours later. The redness and swelling may cover more parts of your body, and you may have crusty sores or blisters.

These symptoms aren’t usually dangerous, either. Take an antihistamine and use a hydrocortisone cream. If they don’t work, your doctor can prescribe a stronger steroid cream or ointment. You may need steroid pills if the latex causes a widespread reaction on your skin.

Severe Reaction

These symptoms can be life-threatening:

If you have an epinephrine auto-injector, use it and then call 911. You still need to go to the hospital even if the shot worked.

If you've had a severe reaction in the past, ask your doctor if you need to carry an anaphylaxis kit with an epinephrine shot. If so, always have two injectors with you. Wear a medical alert bracelet, necklace, or other tag. That will help medical teams treat you as quickly as possible.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on December 23, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: "Latex Allergy Symptoms and Diagnosis."

American Latex Allergy Association: "About Latex Allergy: Symptoms."

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

Up to Date: "Contact dermatitis (including latex dermatitis) (Beyond the Basics)."

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