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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Kristeen Davis: Salem, Oregon


Because I was exposed to so often for the first seven years of my life when I was in and out of the hospital and doctor's offices, I developed this allergy. It didn't become apparent until I was 12 years old. Since then my reactions have gotten worse the more I am exposed to it. At first it was just an allergic contact dermatitis problem and then after I became an adult and was exposed to it even more, when I breathed air contaminated with latex, I developed allergic rhinitis. When this happens my throat swells closed and my eyes, nose (which causes it to start running), and tongue / mouth begin to itch. At this point I immediately take liquid Benadryl and leave work, or where-ever I'm at, and go straight home. I've carried an Epi-pen with me for years and have yet to use it. When latex products touch my skin, that area swells, becomes irritated, cracks, and bleeds. My reactions from physical contact doesn't worry me; however just walking by a store front with latex balloons, or even Poinsettia's, out front (on the sidewalk, near the entrance, etc) sets off my allergy. During the Christmas holidays I am even more limited of where I can go because of the Poinsettia plant. I don't even have to touch it and I have a bad reaction. Just breathing the air when the plant is in bloom is enough to make my throat start to close, and my eyes, nose, tongue, and mouth to start itching. Latex can kill me. If I go into anaphylaxis shock and do not use my Epi-pen, I will die. This product and the lack of empathy many business owners / employers (even after being educated about the situation) have regarding this allergy is mind-boggling.


Sharon McEvoy: garden city, New York


I have suffered with a latex allergy for over 20 years. I was first diagnosed in the early 1990's when I was in Nursing School. It started as a contact dermatitis with latex gloves. It progressed to a Type IV allergic contact dermatitis and then progressed to a type I immediate allergic reaction also known as anaphylaxis. I recently had 4 anaphylaxis reactions because I consumed food that was prepared with latex gloves, unknown to me. I am now an asthmatic and need to take two medications daily with an inhaler twice a day. I carry a rescue inhaler and two epi pens with me . I am petrified to eat any food not prepared by myself. I am a victim not a disease. The use of latex gloves in all areas of food processing an handling and food services needs to be banned not just on a state level but at a federal level!This is my mission. This is my journey. I will fight. I will survive.


Sarah Norman: knoxville, TN - Tennessee


I became allergic to latex about 7 years ago after participating in a CPR class with a rubber dummy. It has now progressed to inhalation latex allergy and affects most every part of my/my family's life. It affects where I go, what I eat, wear, activities I can participate in, and it has been most challenging to try to find a suitable working environment.


Ramona Brock: Painesville, Ohio


Anaphylaxis x4 Nearly fatal twice. Nurse for 27 yrs and latex ended my career. I wish latex would be banned from the food industry because it makes it so hard to go out for the evening. My latex allergy is systemic and I am on total disability. I hate this allergy and there is nothing that can be done .


Vickie Myers: Ashland City , TN


***I have had latex allergy since 2000. I have a Positive Latex RAST Blood Test. This involves more than "just gloves" I developed latex allergy from working as an ORLPNCST in Orthopedics. This started with reactions to gloves, than large hives, swollen lips, shortness of breath, eyes burning. Skin itching on fire. I was misdiagnosed for 6 years from a LACK of Education and VU refused to do a Latex RAST Test. The VU Occupational DR.kept returning me to the OR with Latex gloves. She sent me to a Physcitrist And that Phys. told me I had to be allergic to Latex. She seen the hives, shortness of breath and swollen eyes. She documented my notes ,diary I had kept, noting what type,length of time and exsposure to Latex, Rubber, Foam Rubber, etc. She noted the different types of reactions the, Vomiting Diarrhea Difficult Breathing/Asthma Sore Joints/Muscles Dizziness/Vertigo Nausea ***Anaphylaxis Sore/Scratchy Throat Swelling She wrote a letter and told The Occupational Dr to have me checked for Latex. And still VU refused. I ended up so sick with this missing a lot of work. Than VU fired me for being allergic to Latex. In 2006 Jan 17, one day before being there for 18yrs. I had to find a Dr that understood Latex and I did. Avoidence and Education two main keys. Threw out the years, I have struggled to get proper, health care, dental care, work refused to stop using latex gloves, because of my latex allergy. I could continue to tell you Horror stories of incidents that have happen too me mainly due to lack of Education. This is very important to a lot of us Health care workers, and others, and a lot of children, here in the states. Please Educate if you do not understand, that Latex is more than an Allergy. Thank you so much, for your time.


Mary Catherine Gennaro: Plymouth, NH


I developed my allergy while at work in 1993. In retrospect I had the allergy in a milder form for 2 years before I had my severe reaction. It started as rash on my hands and then progressed to hives and on to angioedema, hives and shortness of breath while wearing latex gloves at work. I had no idea that the latex would transfer to my food. I started to have diarrhea and severe stomach cramps after eating at restaurants. The reaction got worse every time. In spite of being in the medical profession I learned about the food allergy through Cooking Light Magazine. I cannot eat at restaurants that use Latex gloves and I cannot go to offices or work in offices that use Latex gloves I will react to the airborne proteins.I am trying to get the use of latex gloves in food service banned in NH. I am working with a state rep and will hopefully have a bill to put forward next session.


Michael Dochniak: Coralville, iowa


A time of anticipated celebration, a time of joy as brightly colored party balloons, wrapped gifts, paper plates, and inscribed napkins decorated picnic tables for family and friends gathered to share vanilla-frosted cake at Dain‘s 2nd birthday. Dain playfully mouthed an inflated natural-latex balloon while others cheerfully watched and sang happy birthday. Within the balloon was an invasive danger that would soon severely threaten and change his life forever. Shortly after playing with the balloon, Dain‘s health steadily regressed as his adaptive immune system recognized and attacked the natural-latex proteins that had transferred, through inhalation and dermal absorption, from the balloon and into his body.


Carolyn Mirek: South Windsor, CT


I am disabled from my dental hygiene career due to life threatening latex allergy which keeps worsening. I can't eat anything touched by latex including packaged foods which use latex in their adhesives and many cross reactive foods.


Karen Grogan: Westlake Village , CA


I have had to live as though I am in a bubble, the only treatment that is available is avoidance, which is extremely challenging. I have only a handful of places to eat out at and travel is not possible, or to difficult to enjoy, having to worry about where I can eat and where I can stay. Unfortunately my children suffer as well from my bubble due to my allergy. Now I need medical attention and there does not seem to be a latex free or any latex safe facilities! What am I to do? Why use Latex with foods or in medical facilities, when there is safer alternatives. I have also learned the pharmaceutical and supplements/factories use Latex with there products/drugs…that these products are not necessary Latex free. I had just learned (the hard way) that Nature Made uses Latex with there products. Now how do I find the Iron supplements that I desperately need, that are Latex free/safe? If the company uses Latex they should have to label it so. There should be warnings on anything ingested,informing consumers if there is Latex contamination. Latex should not have any contact or touch any thing that is ingested. From Farming grounds to Factories, and then Restaurants to consumers need to be latex safe. There needs to be fines for endangering consumers with Latex, having contact with food and any product that is ingesting. How do we scream loud enough to make this happen? How do we get protection and get to live our life? Is it just ignorance or selfishness, laziness or uncompasisionate or just down right pathetic that this change has not happened yet.


Catherine Ward: GOODYEAR, AZ


I discovered my latex allergy after buying an natural latex rubber mattress. I can't even tolerate smelling it and still react to it even though it is in my garage while I'm trying to sell it. It causes itching/welts, asthma, hay fever-like symptoms and terrible fatigue when I'm exposed to it. In spite of severe reactions to the NRL bed and other rubber, I tested negative for latex allergy.


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