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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Valerie Ross: Concord, NC


I was working the ER as an RN. My reactions were so severe that I had to be treated their, many times. I didn't want to lose my job. I finally found a job in computer education. My boss went on maternity leave. When she returned, they decided that they didn't need 2 people. I tried to find another position but was black balled. This was 1998. I talked to an attorney. I couldn't wait to fight it. My daughter was going to collage at UNCC in Charlotte, NC. I moved there Dec 1999. I actually got 2 jobs in 1 day. The hospitals were already using latex free gloves, not the OR. First responders didn't go latex free until 2005-06. If I had had a car accident=they would have killed me while trying to treat me. I haven't worked since 2008. The hospitals are the least of my worries they have to be latexfree except latex balloons. No shopping, groceries, restaurants, sports activaties, and life. My life is now so restricted, I am forced to stay in my home. I can control what comes in the house. I can't control anything out in the world. Latex is everywhere, if a latex balloon is burst and I inhale=I better have a family member with me, that knows what to do, or I will die before they get me into the ambulance. I have battled this disease since 1995. The only reason I am still alive is that I have to know what has latex, because I am always researching contents, and being a prisoner in my home. Why, do we have to suffer alone? Why won't anyone take us seriously? I have come close to purposely exposed myself in front of my Dr. to wake some people up. I am a veteran and demand to be heard. I have put in a complaint at the VA hospital. If I don't get answers, I go to the Investigator General in DC. I know that most of us would love to be working. I was planning on working until they made me leave. I pray every night, that I may live another day.


Pam Ross: Danville, IL


I blew up a latex balloon and my lips, tongue, and throat first tingled and then swelled. I wheezed, felt tightness in my chest, until benadryl took effect. Another episode occurred when my husband installed a new bathmat (100% latex). I began coughing uncontrollably and coughed up a foamy substance. Another incident when I opened a cabinet at work where we store rubber bands for re-use. It is a huge, open box and the interior of that cabinet has always had a strong rubber smell in it. I worked in health care for more than 20 years, and had a lot of exposure to latex including daily use of latex gloves early in my career. I get terrible itchy rashes on my hands - they crack and bleed. Certain brands of underwear give me itchy red marks at the leg elastics. I have reacted to vaccines and TB tests in the past (negative for TB, but an allergic- type reaction.) I now suspect the problem was rubber stoppers in the medicine vials. My primary doctor blows my problem off as insignificant, and acted like I was crazy when I told him I knew the exam room had latex, because I could smell it in the air. (I was seated right next to the blood pressure cuff-- only noticed when I started coughing.) I have requested referral to an allergist, but not sure he will comply. I practically had to twist his arm to get him to give me an epi-pen. I am really frightened that I will eventually have a major episode that sends me to the ER.


michelle soreth: swoyersville, pa


I was a surgical technologist for 15 years and within 6 months I developed asthma and went into anaphalactic shock. My RAST test tested negative for latex, so I was fired. There isn't any doubt in my mind it is latex. Because no one in my area is knowledgable about latex there isn't any support for me. Financially I lost everything and can't find a job. Everyday is a struggle to avoid latex. Just like another story I read life isn't spontaneous anymore.


Diane Wing: Harlingen, 51


I have been dealing with my Type l latex allergy for 13 years now. The best defense is knowledge and awareness of your surroundings. People still view me as crazy and its no big deal but you have to do what it takes to take care of yourself. I cannot work in a hospital anymore let alone walk in one. I was fortunate to be able to do research from home but I am still required to go to clinics, labs, etc., and I do get reactions. Benedryl is my best friend. I try to stay very healthy because my biggest fear is needing surgery. Then my control is lost. I am getting older so I worry more these days. Latex should be banned everywhere if up to me. At least label items or have the public aware latex gloves are used.


charlotte mcmillan: Santa Rita, guam


1993 I became a nurse, in 1994, I was diagnosed by my infection control nurse that I had a latex allergy. I was working 12 hour shifts, and my hands would turn red, crack and bleed, with a rash.....very itchy. She recognized it and got me nitrile gloves...then in 2001, I became so bad that working around those with latex, cause me to have hives...then in 2002, I had a reaction that lasted with hives for a month..and then I became allergic to clothing, avacodos, and had to two really bad reactions to food handled by latex....now I watch every thing and everywhere I go....latest reaction was a child shaking a glove/latex within 8 ft of me....hives instantly, popped benadryl 50mg, pepcid, and ready with the epipen! never know where or when that is the scary part!


Sarah Boatner: Chattanooga, TN


I used to be so spontaneous. I never worried about whether a place used latex or not. I got hives one year from a bandaid. 3 years later, I went into anaphylactic shock. I went to a doctors office, made it very clear how allergic I am, showed them my epipen and inhaler. I told them I can't be in the same room as powdered latex gloves. They said "Okay." and didn't do anything. They just left the powdered latex gloves in the room with me, I could smell the latex, and they shut the door. I never returned to that doctor. I later went into shock that day. My throat now gets tight when I'm in the same room as latex gloves, even when they're powder free. I've developed food allergies too. I'm now allergic to almonds, mangos, and bananas. I can walk into friends houses and tell there's latex in the air. The air gets heavy. Cigarette smoke doesnt help any of this. Due to my severe allergy, I now have asthma. I was going to scuba dive with sharks but can't because of my allergy. I still have hope that one day I can. Before any of this, anything I wanted to do was possible. I didn't do it because I was afraid I wasn't capible of doing it. Life isn't as care-free as I'd like it to be. Even healthcare workers see latex allergy as something that's not too big. For those who suffer from it, every day items can be fatal. Good news is, I'm basically a super hero, all of those suffering from latex are super heroes. We defy death every day we live.


James Spradlin: Fresno, Ca


I found I was Allergic to Latex after wearing a condom. Or rather, DURING the wearing of said Condom. Swelling and sever rash.


Sheri Finocchiaro: Bristow, Virginia


I was recently diagnosed with Type I latex allergy after 17 years as a physical therapist. As a health care professional I never received specific screening or education regarding latex allergy or latex food syndrome. I face the daily challenges of navigating life as a mother of a 6 year old and wife in a society full of latex. I currently live in an area that does not have a latex safe hospital and have faced much adversity in trying to obtain safe medical and dental care or even vetrinary care for our pets. Participating in my son's education/school is yet another daily challenge.


Tamara Winger: Phoenix, AZ


I had a reaction two serious reactions at work. Placed on FMLA with no pay and long story short after two months of no pay or development of policy the company stood up and are working to create a policy and sensitivity training. This has also brought awareness for other employees suffering from the same problem. Arizona is one of a few states the requires a latex free food environment, but I still find latex gloves for dish washing and some still use them especially at grocery stores. It needs to be addressed so others can be aware before they suffer the same fate.


Sandra Moren: San Diego, CA


My symptoms are brought on by rubber...rubber tires, rubber bark, anything rubber. The smell alone instantly causes my head to feel like it is going to explode and I become so nauseated that I worry about vomiting right then and there. Recently, our HOA has installed rubber bark into the tot lot directly in front of my front door and the smell has caused such adverse reactions that I suffered a full-blown asthma attack and am now on so much medication and must use rescue inhalers on a regular basis. This stuff is toxic and yet our HOA acts like I'm crazy. This stuff is toxic and raises my husband's pulse and heart rate every time he is exposed to it. We can't use our front door or sit out on our front patio anymore because the odor this rubber bark emits is so bad that it literally takes our breath away and we can't breathe but the HOA keeps telling me it is safe and that our concern is unfounded. We aren't making this stuff up. I know how it is affecting us and fear for the well-being of the children who play in it as well as the long term affects we are going to see in the future as a result to this kind of exposure to rubber bark made out of old, discarded shredded tires. Please, let me know if anyone out there is or has experienced this; we can't be the only ones. Thank you.


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