Latex is made from a milky fluid that comes from the rubber tree. With a latex allergy, the body treats certain proteins in latex as a harmful substance. This may happen when products made from latex touch your child's skin, mouth, genitals, or rectum.
Children who have a chronic disease or who have had a lot of surgeries have been exposed to latex from medical procedures. They may become sensitive to it. 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:
If you think your child is allergic to latex, it is important to get a diagnosis from your healthcare provider or allergist. Symptoms can develop over several hours or be immediate and severe:
It is also possible to have an allergic reaction called anaphylactic shock. This is a serious reaction that is sudden, severe, and can involve the whole body. It can cause swelling of the mouth and throat, dangerously low blood pressure, and trouble breathing. This type of reaction is an emergency. It is treated with epinephrine (a medicine that is given by injection). Usually parents or caregivers of children who have severe allergic reactions carry their own shot kits in case of emergency.
Many things may contain latex, such as:
Any item that can be stretched may contain latex. There are many things that can be used instead of things that contain latex. They are made from vinyl, plastic, or silicone.