Latex allergy

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This article is a stub. Please feel free to expand it and make it more encyclopaedic.

Latex is ubiquitous material commonly found in medical equipment used daily in hospitals and primary care. Some are obvious, e.g. latex gloves and latex urinary catheters. However, the presence of latex in many other items is less obvious. Not all things that appear rubbery contain latex, but the list of items may include:
  • Syringe plungers
  • Some tubing and giving sets
  • Rubber bungs of medication vials.
  • Anything containing elastic:
    • Elasticated stockings
    • Crepe bandages
    • Elastic adhesive tape
  • Certain mattresses
  • Airway equipment with latex-containing cuffs
  • Blood pressure cuffs
  • Elastic band around notes.

Allergy versus sensitivity - different grades of reaction (eczema vs anaphylaxis). Not necessarily due to latex proteins, but sometimes chemical used in manufacture. Treat as if allergic to latex proteins.

Powder can act as a sensitiser allows inhalation of the latex allergens (most latex gloves should powder-free).


Occasionally, chemical accelerants used in both latex and nitrile gloves can be responsible for allergic symptoms.[1]

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