Living with Latex Allergies

Once you are diagnosed with a latex allergy, you can take some steps to protect yourself. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and the guidelines below.

Carry an allergy kit

The kit should include:

  • Injectable epinephrine, which can stop an allergic reaction. Your healthcare provider will give you a prescription for it.

  • Nonlatex surgical gloves, which you can wear or give to others to wear if they must care for you.

  • A note from your healthcare provider stating that you have a latex allergy.

  • A complete list of the medicines you take.

Alert others to your latex allergy

  • Wear a bracelet that tells others that you have a latex allergy. This lets them know that they need to avoid using latex when they care for you. You may also want to put a sign in your car window and near your front door that says you have a latex allergy.

  • In addition, contact your healthcare providers (including your dentist and local hospital) and have them note on your chart or file that you are allergic to latex.

  • You may want to call ahead to restaurants to be sure that the food handlers are using latex-free gloves.

Educate your loved ones

It may be hard for your friends and family to understand your latex allergy. Let them know when and how to use your medicines and when to call for emergency help. If they understand your allergy, they will be better able to help you prevent or stop an allergic reaction.

Know the signs of anaphylactic shock

Anaphylactic shock is a life-threatening allergic reaction. If you develop signs of shock, use your epinephrine immediately. Then get emergency medical attention right away. The signs of anaphylactic shock include the following:

  • Swelling of the throat

  • Wheezing, inability to breathe

  • Facial flushing

  • Rapid, pounding heartbeat

  • Feeling faint