What is a Latex Allergy?

Latex products are made with natural rubber. Hospitals used to rely heavily on latex products (such as rubber gloves) until they began seeing an increased allergic reaction to the use of latex with patients. Allergic reactions to latex come not only from contact with the latex product but also from inhalation of the latex powder that is usually present such as inside a rubber balloon.

Patients who spent the most time in hospitals and had the greatest exposure to latex seemed to develop the most severe reactions. Since children with SB spent a significant amount of time in hospitals by comparison to the typical population, the incidence of latex allergy in the SB population was high. For that reason, all children born with SB are presumed to have a latex allergy.

Most hospitals no longer use latex products and so there is a decrease in the number of SB children reporting allergic reactions to latex. While most hospitals are now safe, latex balloons are still prevalent and many dentist offices still use latex gloves. In addition, certain fruits (such as avocados) contain natural latex.

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