Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
It isn't clear why some people develop allergies while others don't. However, certain people are at greater risk of developing a latex allergy:
- Children with spina bifida. The risk of latex allergy is highest in children with spina bifida — a birth defect that affects the development of the spine. Children with this disorder often are exposed to latex products through early and frequent health care. About half of children with spina bifida may be allergic to latex.
- People with urinary tract abnormalities present at birth (congenital). Like children with spina bifida, people with congenital urinary tract problems are exposed to latex products through early and frequent health care.
- People who undergo multiple surgeries or medical procedures. Repeated exposure to latex gloves increases your risk of developing latex allergy.
- Health care workers. If you work in the health care field, your chances of developing an allergy are higher. The signs and symptoms of latex allergy may be similar to those of occupational asthma, a lung disease caused by inhaling workplace substances.
- Rubber industry workers. Repeated exposure to latex may increase sensitivity.
- People with a family history of allergies. You're at increased risk of latex allergy if other allergies, such as hay fever or hives, are common in your family.
Connection between food allergy and latex allergy
Latex allergy also is related to certain foods. Foods such as avocados, bananas, chestnuts, kiwis and passion fruits contain some of the same allergens found in latex. If you're allergic to latex, you have a greater chance of also being allergic to these foods.
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- Latex (natural rubber) allergy in spina bifida. Spina Bifida Association. http://www.spinabifidaassociation.org/site/pp.aspx?c=liKWL7PLLrF&b=2700271&printmode=1. Accessed Sept. 20, 2011.
- Latex allergy: A prevention guide. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/98-113/pdfs/98-113.pdf. Accessed Sept. 20, 2011.
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- Potential for sensitization and possible allergic reaction to natural rubber latex gloves and other natural rubber products. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib012808.html. Accessed Sept. 20, 2011.
- Spina bifida latex list. Spina Bifida Association. http://www.spinabifidaassociation.org/atf/cf/%7BEED435C8-F1A0-4A16-B4D8-A713BBCD9CE4%7D/SBA-LatexList-2011%20English.pdf. Accessed Sept. 20, 2011.