Latex is a milky fluid that comes from the tropical rubber tree. Hundreds of everyday products contain latex. Repeated exposure to a protein in natural latex can make you more likely to develop a latex allergy. If your immune system detects the protein, a reaction can start in minutes. You could get a rash, asthma and in rare cases shock from latex exposure.
Latex products are all around you. Some common ones are
If you are allergic to latex, it is a good idea to learn which products contain it. That way, you can reduce your exposure. The most common reactions are to gloves and condoms. Latex-free alternatives exist for both.
References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
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|Date last updated: 17 July 2008
Topic last reviewed: 22 January 2008