oa Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology - Latex allergy revisited : a review

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-3607



The prevalence of latex allergy has increased because of the increased regular use of natural rubber latex gloves. The increase in sensitisation and allergy has also been linked to the poor quality of glove and condom production to meet the increased demand. However, the prevalence has been decreasing in some Western countries as a result of the implementation of preventive strategies. Certain individuals such as health care workers and children with spina bifida are at increased risk of sensitisation and development of latex allergy. There are various ways in which sensitisation to latex occurs, including inhalation of airborne latex particles, and mucosal and skin contact. Household gloves have been found to cause less latex allergy because of their special production techniques, the fact that there is loose contact with hands, and the short period of use. Diagnosis of latex allergy depends on a good history, clinical symptoms and signs such as irritant dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, and type I hypersensitivity reaction. Diagnosis is confirmed by skin-prick test and specific latex IgE. Other diagnostic tests that can be used are nasal provocation tests and the glove use test. Management strategies are mainly preventive measures and use of symptomatic therapy.

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