If you're allergic to latex, you're likely to react after being in contact with the latex in rubber gloves or by inhaling airborne latex particles, which can be released when latex gloves are removed. Latex allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the degree of your sensitivity and the amount of latex allergen to which you're exposed. Your reaction can worsen with repeated exposure to latex.

Mild symptoms

Mild latex allergy symptoms include:

  • Itching
  • Skin redness
  • Hives or rash

More-severe symptoms

Latex allergy symptoms that are more severe include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Scratchy throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Cough

Anaphylactic shock symptoms

The most serious allergic reaction to latex is an anaphylactic (an-uh-fuh-LAK-tik) response, which can be deadly. It's rarely the first reaction to latex exposure. Anaphylactic reactions develop immediately after latex exposure in highly sensitive people. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Rapid or weak pulse

When to see a doctor

Seek emergency medical care if you think you're having an anaphylactic reaction.

If you have less severe reactions after exposure to latex, talk to your doctor. If possible, see your doctor when you're having a reaction, which will aid in making a diagnosis.

Nov. 16, 2011