WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
A latex allergy is your body's reaction to the protein in natural rubber latex. Latex gloves and other latex products contain this protein. You may have a reaction if you touch or breathe the protein. The reaction may be mild to severe and can become life-threatening.
- Antihistamines: This medicine treats the symptoms of a mild latex allergy, such as a rash or hives. This medicine may also decrease symptoms such as a runny nose and watery eyes.
- Epinephrine: This is given as an injection to stop a severe allergic reaction and can save your life. You may need to carry this medicine with you if you have a severe allergy. Your primary healthcare provider will show you how to give yourself a shot of epinephrine.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Know which products contain latex:
Latex is used to make many rubber products found in homes, hospitals, schools, and the workplace. You should avoid contact with these products. The following may contain latex:
- Gloves, tape, bandages, or tourniquets
- Medical tubes, rubber injection ports, plunger tips, or medicine bottles with rubber tops
- Face masks, breathing tubes, or other respiratory equipment
- Bite blocks used during dental visits
- Certain clothing items that contain elastic, such as bras, shoes, belts, and suspenders
- Foam pillows, carpet backing, golf or tennis grips, and garden hoses
- Condoms, diaphragms, contraceptive sponges, and female sanitary pads
- Diapers, bottle nipples, and pacifiers.
Prevent exposure to latex:
- Inform all caregivers of your allergy: This includes dentists, nurses, doctors, and surgeons.
- Keep a supply of nonlatex gloves: Use vinyl or synthetic gloves if you need to wear gloves. Keep a supply of these nonlatex gloves in your house and car.
- Medical alert identification: Wear medical alert jewelry or carry a card that says you have an allergy to latex. Ask your primary healthcare provider where to get these items.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- Your symptoms have not gone away within 2 weeks.
- You have new symptoms that you did not have before.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You develop hives (red, itchy bumps with a burning feeling on the skin) that have spread all over the body.
- You feel lightheaded.
- You feel warm and flushed.
- You have nausea or vomiting.
- You have a tingling feeling in your mouth or tightness in your throat.
- You have a very fast heartbeat.
- You have wheezing, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.