Useful Info

Latex Allergy - Types of Reactions

Latex Allergy - Signs & Symptoms and Types of Reactions affecting Individuals

Some common latex allergy symptoms are similar to those of hay fever or asthma, such as:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Cough
  • Hives or rash
  • Itching
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Difficulty breathing

The most serious allergic reaction to latex is an anaphylactic response, which can be deadly. Anaphylactic reactions develop immediately after latex exposure in highly sensitive individuals and cause the airway tubes (bronchi) to constrict, making it hard to breathe. Blood pressure may drop to life-threatening levels, making you feel dizzy or causing you to lose consciousness. Other serious signs and symptoms include:

  • Wheezing
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Rapid or weak pulse
  • Blueness of your skin, including your lips and nail beds
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting

Seek medical attention immediately if you think you are having an anaphylactic reaction. The Table below lists the Types of Reactions which may affect certain individuals, and some suggested prevention and management methods.


Type Reaction



Prevention / Management

Irritant Contact Dermatitis

scaling, drying, cracking of skin

direct skin irritation by gloves, powder, soaps/detergents, incomplete hand drying

Obtain medical diagnosis, avoid irritant product, consider use of cotton glove liners , consider alternative gloves/products

Allergic Contact Dermatitis (Type IV delayed hypersensitivity or allergic contact sensitivity)

blistering, itching, crusting (similar to poison ivy reaction)

accelerators (e.g., thiurams, carbamates, benzothiazoles) processing chemicals

(e.g., biocides, antioxidants)

Consider penetration of glove barrier by chemicals

Obtain medical diagnosis, identify chemical.

Consider use of glove liners such as cotton

Use alternative glove material without chemical

Assure glove material is suitable for intended use (proper barrier)

NRL Allergy - IgE/histamine mediated

(Type I immediate hypersensitivity)


A) Localized contact urticaria

which may be associated with or progress to:

B) Generalized Reaction


Hives in area of contact with NRL


Include: generalized urticaria, rhinitis, wheezing, swelling of mouth, shortness of breath. Can progress to anaphylactic shock

NRL proteins: direct contact with or breathing NRL proteins, including glove powder containing proteins, from powdered gloves or the environment

Obtain medical diagnosis, allergy consultation, substitute non-NRL gloves for affected worker and other non-NRL products

Eliminate exposure to glove powder - use of reduced protein, powder free gloves for coworkers

Clean NRL-containing powder from environment

Consider NRL safe environment

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