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. If your immune system detects the protein, a reaction can start in minutes. You could get a rash or asthma. In rare cases you could have a severe reaction called anaphylaxis.
Your doctor may use a physical exam and skin and blood tests to diagnose it. There are medicines to treat a reaction, but it is best to try to avoid latex. Common latex products include
- Rubber bands
- Shoe soles
You can find latex-free versions of these products.
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Home Healthcare Workers: How to Prevent Latex Allergies (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Latex Allergy: A Prevention Guide (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
- Latex in the Hospital Environment (Spina Bifida Association of America) - PDF
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
Find an Expert
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
- Find an Allergist/Immunologist (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology)
- Food and Drug Administration