Request Appointment

Understanding Latex Allergies

An allergy is a sensitivity to a certain substance. If you have a latex allergy, you’re sensitive to natural rubber latex. This is a growing problem among people who work in health care. This sheet tells you more about the causes and symptoms of latex allergy.

Closeup of healthcare provider putting on surgical glove.

What is latex?

Natural rubber latex is made from a liquid taken from the rubber tree. Common products that often contain latex include:

  • Surgical gloves

  • Balloons

  • Condoms

  • Diaphragms

  • Rubber bands

  • Rubber balls

  • Baby bottle nipples

How latex allergy develops

Latex protein is the allergen that causes latex allergy. The more a person is exposed to latex protein, the more likely he or she will develop latex allergy.

Know the symptoms of latex allergy

  • If latex touches your skin, you may have a local reaction. For instance, you may have a rash, hives, or blisters on your skin.

  • If latex gets into your lungs or bloodstream, you may have a systemic reaction. This means you may have symptoms that affect your whole body. For instance, you may have itchy eyes and sneezing. You may also have coughing, trouble breathing, and other symptoms.

  • In either case, symptoms can occur right away. Or they can occur many hours later. Also, symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Know the signs of anaphylaxis

In rare cases, latex allergy can cause a reaction called anaphylaxis. This problem can be fatal. It must be treated right away. First, use your epinephrine auto-injector  if you have it with you. This is medication that is often prescribed by the doctor if you have latex allergy. Also call 911 or go to the emergency room (ER). Signs of anaphylaxis include:

  • Severe hives and itchy skin

  • Swelling of the throat

  • Wheezing, inability to breathe

  • Facial flushing

  • Rapid, pounding heartbeat

  • Feeling faint; loss of consciousness


Was this helpful?

Yes No

Tell us more.

Check all that apply.

Last question: How confident are you filling out medical forms by yourself?

Not at all A little Somewhat Quite a bit Extremely

Thank You!

Discrimination is Against the Law. We comply with applicable Federal civil rights laws. We do not discriminate against, exclude or treat people differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex.
 Visit Other Fairview Sites 
(c) 2017 Fairview Health Services. All rights reserved.