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September 4, 2023

Are You Allergic to Latex? Here’s Why

Are You Allergic to Latex? Here's Why

A latex allergy is usually caused by a response from a person’s immune system when it comes into contact with natural rubber latex. Some reactions are severe, whereas other reactions are more mind. Keep reading and learn how you can cope if latex allergy symptoms are holding you back. 


Also, be aware of the fact that many products are made with rubber latex. Some commonplace products that are made with latex include: gloves, condoms, balloons, clothing elastic, and erasers. Some reactions can take place due to physical contact whereas other reactions are caused by inhalation.  


The reason why your body may react poorly to latex is because your immune system releases histamine when it comes in contact with certain allergens. Therefore, if you experience some of the following symptoms when coming in contact with latex – you may be allergic. 

Knowing the Symptoms 

First off, if you are wondering whether or not you are allergic to latex, it is important to know the symptoms. So to get started, if you experience any of the following – you may have a latex allergy. 


Some symptoms include: 

  • Skin irritations – skin irritation symptoms associated with latex allergies can come in forms of redness, swelling, and itching. Suppose you were blowing up a balloon or you are exposed to latex clothing, if you have itchy skin or redness, you may be allergic. 


  • Rash – latex rashes usually surface within 24 hours of exposure and can spread if the inflammation comes in contact with other parts of your body. If you have a rash from latex exposure, be sure to tend to it before it spreads or is further irritated. 


  • Hives, Runny Nose, and Sneezing – If you come in contact or inhale latex, you may experience watering eyes, inflammation on your face, or red eyes if you are allergic. 


  • Difficulty breathing – people whose latex allergies are more severe may be inclined to having difficulty breathing or increased wheezing. If that is the case and such symptoms continue, anaphylaxis can occur. With that in mind, if you are having an extreme allergic reaction to latex, make sure that you are receiving the medical attention you need. 

Types of Latex Allergies


Although the symptoms of having a latex allergy vary – be sure to note that there are two types: 

1. Type I – IgE-mediated latex allergy: For people with type I latex allergies, they are allergic to proteins that originate from natural rubber trees. So, their reactions are caused by a negative reaction within the immune system. Exposure to such latex causes immune systems to produce IgE antibodies and can cause life-threatening side-effects. 


2. Type IV – Cell-mediated contact dermatitis: On the other hand, cell-mediated contact dermatitis is not as severe and often causes skin irritation and inflammation. Other symptoms may include blisters and infection if not treated properly. 


Meanwhile, other conditions make certain people more likely to have negative reactions. Some of these are: 


  • Having a History of Allergies – Other types of allergic reactions can come from a negative interaction with latex. For example, sometimes when people with allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, are exposed to latex, they may be more likely to have a bad reaction to latex within their immune system.

  • Having Frequent Exposure – People who spend extensive time in hospitals or are in need of several surgeries at once may have higher risks associated with latex allergies. For example, children who suffer from spina bifida may be more inclined to react negatively to latex due to overexposure. On the other hand, medical professionals and other professionals who have to wear latex gloves regularly may also be at higher risk to eventually develop an allergic reaction to the material. 

How to Deal with Latex Allergies 

When treating or dealing with latex allergies, note that there is no explicit cure. However, there are preventative measures you can take to minimize your symptoms and irritation. So, with that in mind, here are some steps you can take to ensure that your allergies are being treated: 


  • Avoid or Decrease Contact with Latex: The first and easiest step you can take to prevent an allergic reaction is avoid latex overall. But, if you do not have a choice – like if you were going to see a healthcare provider, just be sure to let them know and ask if they have alternatives to latex. 

  • Use Alternatives to Latex: If you work in an environment where you need gloves, a great way to eliminate allergic reactions is to use a different material. Some alternatives to latex can be: vinyl, nitrile, or other non-latex rubber materials. 


  • Seek Non-Invasive Treatment: Lastly, if you are looking to treat your latex allergies – consider receiving non-invasive treatment. Utilizing this type of treatment is better than any other form of allergy relief because it is painless, there are no incisions, medications, or invasive procedures. If you are someone that is at high risk for struggling with latex allergies, non-invasive treatment is an excellent option because it is rooted in preventative measures. Especially here, at St. Louis Allergy Relief Center, our advanced allergy therapeutics ensure that you will be able to treat your latex allergy, on top of any other sensitivities or allergies you may be struggling with. 


For more information on ways to deal with allergies, check out our blog. We have tons of content regarding seasonal allergies, how to practice preventative care, and more. If you want to learn more about how you can feel better while also receiving non-invasive care, check out our website. Here at SLAR, we specialize in providing patients with care that has long-term benefits and impacts. 



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