Natural latex comes from the sap of rubber trees and enters our lives in products such as tires, balloons, and latex medical gloves. A latex allergy is your body’s reaction to proteins found in natural rubber latex. Your body’s immune system mistakes latex for a harmful intruder, like bacteria or viruses.
When your immune cells overreact and make antibodies to the latex proteins, then the next time you encounter latex, the joining together of the proteins, antibodies and your immune cells leads to release of histamine and other chemicals into your bloodstream. These chemicals cause your latex allergy symptoms.
There are two types of allergic reactions to latex
- Type I (IgE-mediated allergy) – caused by an allergy to the protein in a natural rubber tree
- Type IV (cell-mediated allergy)- this reaction causes localized irritation and inflammation known as contact dermatitis
Symptoms of Latex Allergy:
- Flushing, hives, or other rashes
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Scratchy throat or hoarseness
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Decreased blood pressure and shock
Treatment Options for Latex Allergy:
- Avoidance – there is no current cure for latex allergies
- Medications – antihistamines and corticosteroids like prednisone can help with milder cases
Our specialists will work closely with to help determine your type of latex allergy. Our allergy testing helps identify your latex allergy. Avoiding latex and latex-containing products is the mainstay of therapy and can help reduce your symptoms and need for medications.