Latex allergy

Skin | Dermatology | Latex allergy (Disease)


Allergy to natural rubber latex is increasingly common and serious in children and adults. Latex is the milky fluid derived from the lactiferous cells of the rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis. It is composed primarily of cis -1,4-polyisoprene, a benign organic polymer that confers most of the strength and elasticity of latex. It also contains a large variety of sugars, lipids, nucleic acids, and highly allergenic proteins.

Causes and Risk factors

More than 200 polypeptides have been isolated from latex. Latex proteins vary in their allergenic potential. Protein content varies with harvest location and manufacturing process. Basic knowledge of the manufacturing processes aids in understanding the medical problems related to latex exposure.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Although medications are available to reduce the symptoms of latex allergy, there is no cure for latex allergy. Treatment is based on prevention. The only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid products that contain latex.

However, despite your best efforts to avoid latex, you may come into contact with it. If youve had a previous severe allergic reaction to latex, you may need to carry injectable epinephrine with you at all times.

For less severe allergies, your doctor may prescribe antihistamines, which you can take after exposure to an allergen to control your reaction and help relieve discomfort. Creams may relieve skin reactions brought on by a latex allergy. ...