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Latex allergy

latex allergy, latex allergy symptoms
Latex allergy is a medical term encompassing a range of allergic reactions to the proteins present in natural rubber latex1 Latex allergy generally develops after repeated exposure to products containing natural rubber latex When latex-containing medical devices or supplies come in contact with mucous membranes, the membranes may absorb latex proteins The immune system of some susceptible individuals produces antibodies that react immunologically with these antigenic proteins2 As many items contain or are made from natural rubber, including shoe soles, elastic bands, rubber gloves, condoms, baby-bottle nipples, and balloons, there are many possible routes of exposure that may trigger a reaction People with latex allergies may also have or develop allergic reactions to some fruits, such as bananas3


  • 1 Types
    • 11 Type I
    • 12 Type IV allergic contact dermatitis
    • 13 Irritant contact dermatitis
    • 14 Latex-fruit syndrome
  • 2 Risk factors
  • 3 Epidemiology
  • 4 Alternatives
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links


Natural rubber latex is known to cause Type I and Type IV allergic reactions, as well as irritant contact dermatitis

Type Iedit

The most serious and rare form of latex allergy, Type I hypersensitivity can cause an immediate and potentially life-threatening reaction, not unlike the severe reaction some people have to bee stings Such reactions account for a significant proportion of perioperative anaphylactic reaction, especially in children with myelomeningocele45 Type I natural rubber latex allergy is an IgE immune mediated reaction to proteins found in the Hevea brasiliensis tree, a type of rubber tree

Testing for type I natural rubber latex allergy is through blood testing to determine if the patient is producing IgE antibodies to latex proteins

Anaphylactic shock can be provoked in allergic persons by the previous use of latex in an area: latex is typically powdered to prevent sticking, latex proteins become attached to the particles of powder, and the powder becomes airborne when the latex item is used, triggering potentially life-threatening Type I reactions when the latex-contaminated powder is inhaled by susceptible persons6 In radiological units latex allergy may mimic contrast medium allergy7

Type IV allergic contact dermatitisedit

Type IV allergy, also known as allergic contact dermatitis, involves a delayed skin rash that is similar to poison ivy with blistering and oozing of the skin see urushiol-induced contact dermatitis It can be diagnosed through a positive skin patch test, although a negative test does not rule out a latex allergy8 Severe irritation takes place if a latex catheter is inserted in the urinary tract of a person allergic to latex That is especially severe in case of a radical prostatectomy due to the open wound there and the exposure lasting eg two weeks Intense pain may indicate such situation Reference: http://wwwhopkinsmedicineorg/healthlibrary/test_procedures/urology/radical_prostatectomy_92,p09111/

Irritant contact dermatitisedit

Natural rubber latex can also cause irritant contact dermatitis,9 a less severe form of reaction that does not involve the immune system Contact dermatitis causes dry, itchy, irritated areas on the skin, most often on the hands10 Latex-glove induced dermatitis increases the chance of hospital-acquired infections, including blood-borne infections, being transmitted11

Latex-fruit syndromeedit

People who have latex allergy also may have or develop an allergic response to some plants and/or products of these plants such as fruits This is known as the latex-fruit syndrome12 Fruits and seeds involved in this syndrome include banana, pineapple, avocado, chestnut, kiwi fruit, mango, passionfruit, fig, strawberry, and soy Some, but not all of these fruits contain a form of latex Hevein-like protein domains 13 are a possible cause for allergen cross-reactivity between latex and banana14 or fruits in general15

Natural rubber latex contains several conformational epitopes located on several enzymes such as Hev b 1,16 Hev b 2,17 Hev b 4,18 Hev b 519 and Hev b 6022021

FITkit is a latex allergen testing method for quantification of the major natural rubber latex NRL specific allergens: Hev b 1, Hev b 3, Hev b 5, and Hev b 60222

Risk factorsedit

  • Children with spina bifida Up to 68% will have a reaction23
  • Industrial rubber workers, exposed for long periods to high amounts of latex About 10% develop an allergic reaction11
  • Health care providers Given the ubiquitous use of latex products in health care settings, management of latex allergy presents significant health organizational problems Those healthcare workers—such as physicians, nurses, aides, dentists, dental hygienists, operating room employees, occupational therapists, laboratory technicians, and hospital housekeeping personnel—who frequently use latex gloves and other latex-containing medical supplies are at risk for developing latex allergy24 Between about 4% to 17% of healthcare workers have a reaction, which usually presents as Irritant Contact Dermatitis This contact dermatitis can develop further through allergic sensitivity to a status of full anaphylactic shock Apart from the uncomfortable and in some cases life-threatening health implications, this will effectively hinder the person from working with any amount of latex and could impede their chance of maintaining their vocation25 In the surgical setting, the risk of a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction by a patient has been deemed by Johns Hopkins Hospital to be sufficiently high to replace all latex surgical gloves with synthetic alternatives26
  • People who have had multiple surgical procedures, especially in childhood9


Estimates of latex sensitivity in the general population range from 08% to 82%27


  • Synthetic rubbers such as elastane, neoprene, nitrile and artificially synthesized polyisoprene latex do not contain the proteins from the Hevea brasiliensis tree28
  • Products made from guayule natural rubber emulsions also do not contain the proteins from the Hevea rubber tree, and do not cause allergy in persons sensitized to Hevea proteins232930
  • Chemical treatment to reduce the amount of antigenic proteins in Hevea latex has yielded alternative materials, such as Vytex, which reduce exposure to latex allergens while otherwise retaining the properties of natural rubber
  • In 1994, the first polyurethane condoms were produced, designed for people with latex allergies

For some people, the sensitivity is so extreme that replacement of latex products with products made from alternative materials may still result in a reaction if the products are manufactured in the same facility as the latex-containing products, due to trace quantities of natural rubber latex on the non-latex products30

See alsoedit

  • Food allergy
  • Food intolerance
  • List of allergies
  • Oral allergy syndrome


  1. ^ "Safety and Health Topics | Latex Allergy" Oshagov Retrieved 2014-07-31 
  2. ^ "Allergy to Latex Rubber" American Dental Association 
  3. ^ Taylor, JS & Erkek, E 2004 "Latex allergy: diagnosis and management" Dermatologic Therapy 17 4: 289–301 PMID 15327474 doi:101111/j1396-0296200404024x 
  4. ^ Rendeli, C; Nucera, E; Ausili, E; Tabacco, F; Roncallo, C; Pollastrini, E; Scorzoni, M; Schiavino, D; Caldarelli, M; Pietrini, D; Patriarca, G 2005 "Latex sensitisation and allergy in children with myelomeningocele" Child's Nervous System 22 1: 28–32 PMID 15703967 doi:101007/s00381-004-1110-4 
  5. ^ Banta, JV; Bonanni, C; Prebluda, J 1993 "Latex anaphylaxis during spinal surgery in children with myelomeningocele" Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 35 6: 543–8 PMID 8504897 
  6. ^ Tarlo, Susan M; Sussman, Gordon; Contala, Anne; Swanson, Mark C 1994 "Control of airborne latex by use of powder-free latex gloves" Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 93 6: 985–9 PMID 8006320 doi:101016/S0091-67499470045-1 
  7. ^ Böhm, Ingrid 2010 "Latex allergy in patients suspected for contrast medium hypersensitivity: A neglected differential diagnosis" Acta Radiologica 51 6: 709–10 PMID 20438290 doi:103109/028418512010482105 
  8. ^ Latex Allergy~workup at eMedicine
  9. ^ a b Reddy, Sumana January 1, 1998 "Latex Allergy" American Family Physician 57 1: 93–100 PMID 9447217 
  10. ^ "Latex Allergy: Latex Allergy Infographic" LatexMattressorg Retrieved 2014-11-12 unreliable medical source
  11. ^ a b Latex Allergy at eMedicine
  12. ^ Brehler, R; Theissen, U; Mohr, C; Luger, T 1997 "'Latex-fruit syndrome': frequency of cross-reacting IgE antibodies" Allergy 52 4: 404–10 PMID 9188921 doi:101111/j1398-99951997tb01019x 
  13. ^ Diaz-Perales, A; Sanchez-Monge, R; Blanco, C; Lombardero, M; Carillo, T; Salcedo, G 2002 "What is the role of the hevein-like domain of fruit class I chitinases in their allergenic capacity" Clinical & Experimental Allergy 32 3: 448–54 PMID 11940077 doi:101046/j1365-2222200201306x 
  14. ^ Mikkola, Jari H; Alenius, Harri; Kalkkinen, Nisse; Turjanmaa, Kristiina; Palosuo, Timo; Reunala, Timo 1998 "Hevein-like protein domains as a possible cause for allergen cross-reactivity between latex and banana" Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 102 6: 1005–12 PMID 9847442 doi:101016/S0091-67499870339-2 
  15. ^ Wagner, S; Breiteneder, H 2001 "The latex‒fruit syndrome" Biochemical Society Transactions 30 6: 935–40 PMID 12440950 doi:101042/BST0300935 
  16. ^ Chen, Zhiping; Cremer, Reinhold; Posch, Anton; Raulf-Heimsoth, Monika; Rihs, Hans-Peter; Baur, Xaver 1997 "On the allergenicity of Hev b 1 among health care workers and patients with spina bifida allergic to natural rubber latex" Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 100 5: 684–93 PMID 9389300 doi:101016/S0091-67499770174-X 
  17. ^ Barre, Annick; Culerrier, Raphaël; Granier, Claude; Selman, Laetitia; Peumans, Willy J; Van Damme, Els JM; Bienvenu, Françoise; Bienvenu, Jacques; Rougé, Pierre 2009 "Mapping of IgE-binding epitopes on the major latex allergen Hev b 2 and the cross-reacting 1,3β-glucanase fruit allergens as a molecular basis for the latex-fruit syndrome" Molecular Immunology 46 8-9: 1595–604 PMID 19185347 doi:101016/jmolimm200812007 
  18. ^ Kolarich, Daniel; Altmann, Friedrich; Sunderasan, Elumalai 2006 "Structural analysis of the glycoprotein allergen Hev b 4 from natural rubber latex by mass spectrometry" Biochimica et Biophysica Acta BBA - General Subjects 1760 4: 715–20 PMID 16403599 doi:101016/jbbagen200511012 
  19. ^ Beezhold, Donald H; Hickey, Vicky L; Slater, Jay E; Sussman, Gordon L 1999 "Human IgE-binding epitopes of the latex allergen Hev b 5" Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 103 6: 1166–72 PMID 10359901 doi:101016/S0091-67499970194-6 
  20. ^ Reyes-López, César A; Hernández-Santoyo, Alejandra; Pedraza-Escalona, Martha; Mendoza, Guillermo; Hernández-Arana, Andrés; Rodrı́guez-Romero, Adela 2004 "Insights into a conformational epitope of Hev b 602 hevein" Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 314 1: 123–30 PMID 14715255 doi:101016/jbbrc200312068 
  21. ^ Pedraza-Escalona, Martha; Becerril-Luján, Baltazar; Agundis, Concepción; Domínguez-Ramírez, Lenin; Pereyra, Ali; Riaño-Umbarila, Lidia; Rodríguez-Romero, Adela 2009 "Analysis of B-cell epitopes from the allergen Hev b 602 revealed by using blocking antibodies" Molecular Immunology 46 4: 668–76 PMID 18930549 doi:101016/jmolimm200808282 
  22. ^ Koh, D; Ng, V; Leow, Y-H; Goh, CL 2005 "A study of natural rubber latex allergens in gloves used by healthcare workers in Singapore" British Journal of Dermatology 153 5: 954–9 PMID 16225605 doi:101111/j1365-2133200506820x 
  23. ^ a b "Protect Yourself from Latex Allergies" Ivanhoe Broadcast News December 2008 Archived from the original on July 9, 2015 Retrieved June 12, 2015 
  24. ^ "Preventing Allergic Reactions to Natural Rubber Latex in the Workplace" The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health June 1997 Retrieved June 12, 2015 
  25. ^ Wheatley, Chris September 2002 "Latex allergy may be seen as the latest 'issue'; but it isn’t going to just go away" unreliable medical sourceself-published source
  26. ^ Lynn, Kellye January 15, 2008 "Hopkins ceases use of latex gloves during surgery" Baltimore: WJZ 13 CBS Archived from the original on October 11, 2008 
  27. ^ Grzybowski, M; Ownby, D; Rivers, E; Ander, D; Nowak, R 2002 "The prevalence of latex-specific IgE in patients presenting to an urban emergency department" Annals of Emergency Medicine 40 4: 411–9 PMID 12239498 doi:101016/S0196-06440200063-X 
  28. ^ "Why do polyisoprene condoms work as latex allergy condom choices" Stdaboutcom Retrieved 2014-07-31 
  29. ^ "Archived copy" Archived from the original on 2013-10-12 Retrieved 2016-10-18 
  30. ^ a b "Don't be Misled by 'Latex Free' Claims" FDA March 30, 2015 

External linksedit

  • The American Latex Allergy Association
  • UK Latex Allergy Support Group
  • Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

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