Latex Allergy Stories

Tell Your Latex Allergy Story

The best way for the world to understand the severity of a Latex allergy is for everyone to hear what those suffering from the allergy go through. Read the stories below written by people who suffer from allergic reactions to Latex and comments by those who advocate change.


Currently, 182 people have submitted stories or comments.


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Roxanne Gewalt: Sardis City, AL


I thought I was dying.Developed asthma, terrible sinus allergies, strange rashes and felt terrible all the time. Got sick everywhere I went. I changed jobs and my supervisor was NRLA and saved my life.Thought I was allergic to the powder. I have had three serious(seek medical attention in ER or hospital and hope no one kills me w/latex).Live on Benadryl.Was denied diability. Took three years to get and financial disaster in the mean time. I rarely travel.Seldom shop alone. I have worked with local stores to become latex safer. I also work with churches, restraunts-sometimes with success,schools and anybody else that uses latex. I teach NRLA prevention. I learned to stand up for myself and youngest child who also reacts to latex exposure.Try explainging to people why those pretty balloons could kill you. How proteins are transferred in kitchens and contaminates everything.Been ridiculed, laughed at and told not to come. People have rolled their eyes and been untruthful. I have been told that other children should not get to have balloons just because of my little girl. Everyday thins people take for granted like simple act of running in a store for something all have the potential of killing. Having this allergy is an awful burden, but it is nothing in comparison to guilt for passing it on to my daughter. I nursed for 15 years, started reacting in the early nineties and made it until 2001. Left home health because thought was too old and had taken a hospital job. The day before I was to start, I called and found out had not been medically cleared-this hospital does an in depth latex allergy screen and would not clear me to work. They also lost those results and could not produce any information when I applied for disability. I looked for work in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.I have a BSN and years of experience that are useless now. I have a wonderful allergist and a good support system. I can't imagine dealing with this condition without them.


Christine Bryant: Medina, OH


I discovered I was allergic to latex gloves after I had dental work done. It was 15 years ago and no one believed me. Since then I slowly realized that anything I touch or smell that is rubber will result in ezcema or breathing problems. Can't wear any shoes with rubber. Any place that has tires will cause a reaction. The worst part had been arguing with the medical staff that I was indeed allergic to rubber and latex.


Joseph Martinez: Santa Fe, NM


The scarriest part of being allergic to latex initially was not knowing what was causing the little, painfully itching blisters on my hands caused by wearing latex gloves. Not knowing the latex was the cause of my reaction, my dermatologist prescribed me with powerful cortiscosteroids which can have horrendous side effects. After a minor scrape on my shins, I placed a bandaid on the wound. Well, the wound healed but a rash developed in the area where the adhesive was on the skin. Finally, after doing research on the internet, I figured out I was alergic to latex. Latex is found in over 40,000 everyday household items most of which are made in China. Other names for latex are SPANDEX: (not Lycra Spandex) which can be found in some gardening and carpenters gloves as well as clothing. ELASTIC: the kind you find in socks and underwear. RUBBER: moldings in autos, sneakers, kitchen utensils, non-slip bathroom rugs, remote control buttons, cameras and other electronics. ADHESIVES: in bandaids, duct and gaffers tape, carpets, shoes and sneakers. As you can see there are many items containing latex. If it was federally mandated to place a LATEX FREE stamp on labels of products, it would save thousands of people a lot of misery and to some potential death due to this seemingly harmless yet lethal house hold item.


Karim Melvin: Hamlin, NY


I was working as a nurse in a local hosptal I started having severe astham symptoms, stomach swelling, thoart swelling as well as chest pain. I was admitted several times and would get worse . I was told I had the ablity to cause these symptoms in myself. I finally had a severe reaction at work was rushed to the ER and that DR did some research in 1996 on the internet. He wrote on my sheet I had a latex allergy and should not return to wok in the hospital. Since that time I had tried several jobs outside of nursing only to get worse. My Drs told me I am totally disabled. I only wish they would understand that the joint pain and other things are caused by this allergy . They seem to turn there heads when I mention the pain.I was given SSD benefits right away no appeals . Workers Comp was a night mare they forced me to settle by playing mental games. I sued a glove manufactuer when trial time came my eveidance was thrown out it was declared to prejudical against them.I was forced to settle. Never mind they could use the fact that I skipped lunch in 10th grade and had in school suspension. Pretty desperate if that is all they could find wrong in my life. I still have severe reactions I am scared to go to the ER as they treat me rather nasty about not using latex . I had to have a hysterectomy at age 35 due to endometriosis the DR biopsied and found mast cells he feels this allergy is the culprit. How does one entirely avoid latex? I had several complications in the hospital was given epi many tmes in that admisson and constant nebs. I am lucky though I have 3 beautiful kids that are such gifts and I am alive to see them everyday . I also have a husband that works 2 jobs so we can keep this house and have few extras. The bad thing is when one of my kids gets an injury I have had to leave the hospital they do not understand it is not safe and refuse to change.


Shelby Galloway: Memphis, TN.


aTill someone listens, I'm still fighting for my disability rights. This battle started in 1999, but it is still raging. The diagnosis has been confirmed and still they refuse to believe that I'm disable. They don't know how to treat me, nor have they come up with a solution. Soon, I will face an adminstrative law judge, but I can't seem to find an attorney, nor doctor who will stand for me.


bobbie jones: forest city, north carolina




Malory Murphy: waterloo, iowa


I have never had any allergies, but when I started at Red Lobster (which all they have is latex gloves) I started to break out in hives, and itch like crazy. It got so bad you could see the top layer of skin on my hands was gone. After 4 months of this I went to a dr who said it was a latex allergy and gave me a note to give to red Lobster about the gloves. Well I was told I would have to buy and bring them with me and take them home. Well lets just say I quit and will never eat at ANY Red Lobster. They have latex gloves, both their are either powder or non-powder. So if you plan on eating at one, bring your own since they don't think they need to have latex free for their employees or for the customers.


james klemp: Olympia, WA


7 yrs in prominent hosptial all of them using ansell #128 w/powder. Have had hives, itching, sinus drains, sores that have not gone away, severe upper resp distress, uncontrolled coughing fits, wheezing. Hospital denies any responsibility, will lose job, no L&I. Can't win fight against 2 billion dollar system in workers comp state unsympathetic to workers injuries.


Donald Cooper: Sebring, FL


I had latex balloons in my car for 15 min. By the time I reached my destination I was getting short of breath. about 6 months later I was at the hospital where Iwork when the were having a grand opening and had Latex baloons everywhere. I had to walk out within 30 seconds and inject epinephrine because I was getting very short of breath. And now When I am in working around Docs that use latex. I get short of breath and it gets even worse when I get a strong breath. This is why I keep an Epi pen with me at all times.


Marc Borge: Meadow Vista, ca

I am a former Professional Chef, I have been in and around the restaurant business all of my life, and I did use Latex! My girlfriend who is a nurse, developed the severe allergy while working in operating rooms. She now works as an advice nurse. Due to my business, we dine out very often, and most restaurants on first response think the right answer is yes they use gloves. most chefs are not aware that there are different types of gloves. I always insist on seeing the box, and when the manager says we use latex so that I stop bothering them I ask for the chef, if it is a conscience kitchen then they can make modifications to her food. I am in the Northern California, and even cities like San Francisco it is difficult. I have heard that Hawaii is also latex free in restaurants.


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