Latex allergies

Latex gloves help protect against diseases and other health risks, but some people are allergic to latex products.

Mild Symptoms:

  • watery eyes
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • skin irritation

Severe Symptoms:

  • difficulty breathing
  • collapse
  • for some, the reaction to latex can be life-threatening

If you suspect that you or a child may be allergic to latex:

  • Stop all contact with latex products, including gloves and rubber bands.
  • Arrange for you or the child to be evaluated by a medical professional.

If a child is allergic to latex:

  • Inform all care providers that the child is allergic to latex.
  • Remove common supplies that contain latex, such as rubber bands, from all locations where the child lives and plays.
  • Latex products should not be used for these children.  Instead, use other non-porous gloves, such as those made of vinyl or some other substance that does not contain or cross-react with latex.  If a caregiver is allergic to latex, non-latex gloves should be available at diaper changing areas, first aid kits, emergency supplies, and food preparation areas.

Special advice for group care settings:

  • Older children should wear identification noting the latex sensitivity.    As with any allergy, it’s important to be diligent about notifying all care providers of the child’s latex sensitivity.
  • If parents consent, post allergies in care giving areas that the child uses helps to alert substitutes and visitors to the room who might otherwise expose the child to a substance that causes an allergic reaction.
  • Caregivers should work with parents and follow the child’s medical guidelines for using non-latex products.

Adults allergic to latex should:

  • Wear a medical identification bracelet or other device alerting others to the latex sensitivity.
  • Not wear latex gloves.  Use other non-porous gloves, such as those made of vinyl or some other substance that does not contain or cross-react with latex.
  • Read labels of all products that may contain latex.
  • Remove common supplies that contain latex, such as rubber bands, from the environment.

If a care provider in a group care setting is allergic to latex:

  • Guidelines should be shared with the child care employer and the caregiver’s job tasks should be reviewed.
  • The workplace should provide powder-free gloves with reduced protein content for co-workers.  The latex proteins that cause allergies attach to the powder used in gloves.  This powder can become airborne when the gloves are removed and be inhaled by those with latex allergies. For this reason, non-latex synthetic gloves should be available for every worker’s use when anyone in the workplace has a latex allergy.  These gloves should be available at diaper changing areas, first aid kits, emergency supplies, food preparation areas, and anywhere else gloves are worn.