A latex allergy is a hypersensitivity to latex, which is a natural substance made of the milky sap of the rubber tree. Latex allergies arise when the immune system, which normally guards the body against bacteria, viruses and toxins, also reacts to latex. In any type of allergy, when the immune system reacts against an otherwise harmless substance, the substance is called an allergen.
In my practice, I have seen several patients with kiwifruit allergy. All the patients I've seen with kiwifruit allergy were allergic to birch pollen and get birch pollen hay fever. All the patients I see have a positive skin test to the fresh kiwifruit.
Latex allergy is a medical term encompassing a range of allergic reactions to the proteins present in 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 proteins.
Genetics and the environment both play a role in developing a latex allergy. There are groups of people who are more likely to develop a latex allergy than others. Since the amount of exposure to latex is a key factor in developing a latex allergy, healthcare workers and patients especially children who undergo multiple surgeries are at risk.
Key Points Medical devices, such as latex gloves, made from natural rubber latex NRL can cause allergic reactions, and have the potential to provoke life-threatening type 1 reactions in sensitised individuals. Risk groups for latex allergy are individuals predisposed to allergy and those frequently in contact with latex gloves, such as the medical profession and patients needing multiple surgery. To avoid latex allergy or latex allergic contact dermatitis, products with low amounts of allergenic proteins and sensitising chemicals should be used.
Latex is used in a large number of products including adhesives, foam, carpet backing and in a number of "dipped" products. Dipped products include surgical gloveshousehold gloves, catheters, condoms, balloons, etc. Natural latex rubber is also found in toys, erasers, sports equipment, clothing, elastic bands, and many medical and dental devices.
Latex is a milky fluid that comes from the tropical rubber tree. Hundreds of everyday products contain latex. Repeated exposure to a protein in natural latex can make you more likely to develop a latex allergy.
Latex gloves have proved effective in preventing transmission of many infectious diseases to health care workers. But for some workers, exposures to latex may result in allergic reactionsa. Reports of such reactions have increased in recent years—especially among health care workers.
This website uses non-intrusive cookies to improve your user experience. You can visit our cookie privacy page for more information. Beta This is a new way of showing guidance - your feedback will help us improve it. Natural rubber latex NRL is a milky fluid obtained from the Hevea brasiliensis tree, which is widely grown in south-east Asia.