Some children have an allergy or sensitivity to latex (rubber). Reactions can be seen when products made from latex come in contact with the child's skin, mucous membranes in the mouth, genitals, bladder, or rectum, or the bloodstream (during surgery). Some children may also react when blowing up a rubber balloon or breathing in powder from the inside of latex gloves.
When a child with a latex allergy comes in contact with products that contain latex, they may experience the following symptoms:
In some cases, severe reactions ("anaphylactic shock") can occur in which the child may have problems breathing, experience chest tightness, or have swelling of his/her throat or tongue. Severe reactions require emergency treatment.
The symptoms of a latex allergy may resemble other medical conditions. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.
Some children are more likely to become latex sensitive. These are children who have frequent exposure to latex from medical procedures, including:
Children who have allergies to certain foods may also have a latex allergy. Both the foods and the latex may have some of the same proteins. Commonly eaten foods which contain some of the same proteins as latex include the following:
Many items at home, in the community, and in the hospital are made from latex. These include, but are not limited to the following:
Home and Community
Balloons (excluding mylar)
Koosh balls, rubber balls
Pacifiers, bottle nipples, eye dropper bulbs
Dental products (such as mouth guards)
Beach toys, art supplies
Rubber bands, Band-Aids, erasers, hand grips on racquets and bicycles
Sport shoes and rubber clothing (such as raincoats)
Chux© (waterproof pads)
Surgical and exam gloves
IV tubing injection sites
Blood pressure cuffs
Any item that is light brown and can be stretched may contain latex. There are items that can be used in place of the items that contain latex. They are made from vinyl, plastic, or silicone.
Some hospitals are developing policies to create a latex-free environment that have significantly minimized your child's exposure to latex. Contact the hospital for more information.
Your child's caregivers include dentists, physical/occupational therapists, physicians and nurses, teachers, daycare providers and babysitters, and friends and family members.
Note: Avoiding latex products may decrease the chance of your child developing this allergy.