Allergic reactions to latex may be serious and can very rarely be fatal. If you have latex allergy you should limit or avoid future exposure to latex products.
In most cases, latex allergy develops after many previous exposures to latex. Latex allergy symptoms may include hives, itching, stuffy or runny nose. It can cause asthma symptoms of wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. Symptoms begin within minutes after exposure to latex containing products. The most severe latex allergy can result in anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction involving severe breathing difficulty and/or fall in blood pressure (shock).
Allergic skin problems can occur following direct contact with allergic latex proteins in latex glove products. Symptoms may include immediate itching, redness and swelling of skin that touched the item containing latex. These and other latex allergic reactions are less common now. Many hospitals or doctors’ offices have switched to non-latex gloves or low protein latex gloves.
A second type of skin allergy called “allergic contact dermatitis” may be caused by chemicals used to manufacture rubber gloves. This dermatitis is recognized by the eczema and blisters on the back of the hands. It resembles a poison ivy rash, and begins 1 to 3 days after wearing rubber gloves.
Direct physical contact with latex products is not needed to trigger an allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis and severe asthmatic reactions have been caused by inhaling latex proteins in the air resulting from the powder in the latex glove.