Latex Allergy

Latex Allergy

Becoming increasingly common. Occurs in 1 – 5% of population – in up to 10-30% of health acre workers. Latex proteins are highly allergenic.

3 clinical syndromes:
1) Irritant dermatitis – due to chronic latex exposure. Not immune mediated. Causes chronic dermatitis. In health care workers  increases risk for nosocomial infections.
2) Delayed (Type IV) hypersensitivity reaction  contact dermatitis. Symptoms usually develop 24-48 hours after exposure. More common in atopic individuals.
3) Immediate (Type 1) hypersensitivity reaction  more serious – occurs within minutes of exposure. Mediated by IgE response specific for latex proteins. At risk of anaphylaxis.

Clinical features of delayed and immediate hypersensitivity reactions:
Pruritus of exposed area; oedema of skin; rhinitis; dyspnoea; syncope; light-headedness; abdominal cramping; nausea; vomiting; diarrhoea; rash; urticaria; angioedema; conjunctivitis;


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