VIENNA, VA, AUGUST 26, 2021 – People who live with latex allergy know that avoidance of triggers is critical to preventing an allergic reaction. They must avoid using more than 40,000 products that contain latex, including latex gloves, rubber bands, elastic bands, goggles and mouse pads.
Allergy & Asthma Network is working to raise awareness of the many products that contain latex. Latex Allergy Awareness Week is Sunday, Oct. 3 to Saturday, Oct. 9. The theme this year is “Latex Allergy: Preventing Exposure is Key.”
Latex allergy is a unique health condition that affects up to 6% of the U.S. population. It is much more common in people who work in the medical or dental fields. In fact, 10-17% of healthcare workers and 33.8% of dental workers have been diagnosed with latex allergy. In addition, 17% of restaurant workers have been diagnosed with latex allergy.
The only way for people with latex allergy to prevent symptoms is strict avoidance of latex. This includes latex that may be “hidden” in certain foods and products, such as:
- foods that cross-react with latex, such as banana, avocado, kiwi and chestnuts
- food prepared (usually in restaurants) with latex gloves
- vial stoppers used to store vaccines
It is important to…
- check with manufacturers to find out if their products contain latex
- read food labels to confirm ingredients don’t contain latex
- talk with restaurant staff to ensure kitchen staff do not use latex gloves when making meals
- check with your doctor about the potential for latex exposure before receiving a vaccine
Some good news on vial stoppers: All three of the available COVID-19 vaccines use vial stoppers that are NOT made with latex. People with latex allergy are not at risk for a latex-allergic reaction from COVID-19 vaccines.
Allergy & Asthma Network’s digital publication, “Latex Allergy: A Practical Guide for Patients and Providers,” is available as a free download on AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org. The guidebook includes sections on understanding your latex allergy diagnosis, cross-reactivity, how to avoid exposure, and treatment for severe reactions.
Every year during Latex Allergy Awareness Week, Allergy & Asthma Network raises awareness about latex allergy and distributes patient education resources in print and online. The week highlights the issues facing people with latex allergy and encourages them to stay vigilant in reducing or eliminating exposure to latex. With awareness and education, patients can live a full and active life.
Latex Allergy Awareness Week began in 1997 with educational seminars and poster displays for allergists, hospitals and medical professionals. Interest in latex allergy has grown through the years; many parents, children, school staff, healthcare workers and restaurant owners are eager to learn what they can do to provide a latex-safe environment.
About Allergy & Asthma Network
Allergy & Asthma Network is the leading nonprofit patient outreach, education, advocacy and research organization for people with asthma, allergies and related conditions. Our patient-centered network unites individuals, families, caregivers, health professionals, industry partners and government decision makers to improve health and quality of life for people with asthma and allergies. We specialize in making medically accurate information understandable to all while promoting evidence-based standards of care.