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Latex Allergy

Latex Allergy is an allergic reaction to natural rubber latex. The immune system overreacts to special kinds of proteins found in natural latex, which is used to manufacture rubber gloves. The allergy would cause coughing, sneezing, itching, and rashes. People in the rubber industry, medical sector, or health and safety workers are more prone to such allergic reactions. Sweat inside gloves makes a perfect condition for reaction, and a person gets dermatitis symptoms. Although the exact cause of such allergic reactions is still unknown, however, they are suitable and easy solutions available for the problem.

Latex allergy tends to occur when someone uses powder or latex hand gloves. When someone removes gloves, the powder in the air could cause an allergic reaction in others. About 5% to 10% of health workers have some form of latex allergy. Similarly, employees in the health and occupational sector are also prone to such allergic reactions. The latex particles or powder could interact with the immune system through direct contact with the nasal cavity, eyes, or other openings in the skin. If left untreated, symptoms could become severe, and they would need professional health assistance.

Types of Latex Allergic reactions

There are three types of latex reactions:

  1. Irritant contact dermatitis;

  2. Allergic contact dermatitis;

  3. Immediate latex reaction;

Irritant contact dermatitis:

This type does not cause allergy rather, and it causes itching, scaling, dryness, and other skin problems. It usually affects after 24hrs of contact or exposure to latex chemicals.

Allergic contact dermatitis:

This is a delayed reaction to additives used in latex processing. It is similar to irritant dermatitis but more severe and last longer.

Immediate latex reaction:

This is the most serious reaction. Symptoms include hay fever, cramps, itching eyes, chest pressure, breathing complications, blood pressure anomaly, and severe itching. Such symptoms require immediate professional medical assistance.


There is no cure for a latex allergy. The best course of action is to avoid contact with it. If you do have a reaction, the treatment will depend on how serious it is. For professional workers where contact with such instruments and tools is mandatory, some SOPs are suggested by health professionals, such as using different gloves which do not cause severe allergic reactions.

Nitrile gloves are the finest option if you are seeking anti-allergy medical gloves. They are strong and flexible, making them a great alternative to latex gloves. Because nitrile gloves are constructed of synthetic rubber, they are less prone to trigger allergic reactions because they are free of latex and powder. The synthetic plastic polymer used to make vinyl gloves is latex-free and allergy-free.

Rubber Latex in Daily Life Accessories:

There is latex in many things. Read product labels carefully. To be sure, you might need to consult the product's manufacturer. Home goods that are made with latex include:

Rubber sink stoppers and sink mats;

Gloves for dishwashing and household cleaning;

Rubber or rubber-grip utensils;

Rubber electrical cords or water hoses;

Bath mats and floor rugs that have a rubber backing;

Rubber tub toys;

Sanitary napkins (that contain rubber);

Condoms and diaphragms;


Irish and European Standard ISO EN 455-3:2006 calls for:

Medical gloves that contain NRL should be identified as such on the box.

Gloves must include powder less than 2mg in order to be designated as "powder-free."

No phrase shall appear on the product labeling for medical gloves containing NRL.

The product labeling for medical gloves containing NRL shall not include any term suggesting relative safety, such as low allergen city, hypo allergenicity, or low protein.

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