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, 177 people have submitted stories or comments.


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Janet Baragar: Easley, SC


Had my 3rd C-section and couldn't breathe, didn't know at that time I was allergic to latex, had to be hooked up to oxygen. Went to a dentist, got itchy and difficulty breathing. Cleaned our home toilets with playtex gloves, couldn't breathe. After these things happened I Went to an allergist, tested me for latex allergies. Tested severly allergic. Waitressed in a restaurant that used latex gloves, couldn't breathe, they switched to vinyl. Just started a job as an Occupational Therapist in a retirement home, I stated that it would have to be latex free. I was assured that it would be, it wasn't, ended up in the ER since I couldn't breathe. I worked there, had orientation for 3 hours and couldn't believe they didn't get rid of the latex after they said they would accomodate me. It is so frustrating when these medical places could use Nitrile or Vinyl instead of latex.


KATHRYN CLARK: Northwich, uk

My Son 15yrs old is type 1 allergic to latex. He was diagnosed at aged 9 yrs old. We had a terrible time with his school who would not spend £42 to change things so he could attend and when we offered to pay still refused to implement changes. It took his specialist to call a meeting of the headmistress,school Dr, Health and safety at the local council (who declined to attend) to persuade them to change things. Meanwhile my son lost a month of education,I lost my sanity and he lost his trust in his school saying "I don't want to go back to that school they don't want me to be safe". It broke my heart. It is a terrible allergy because you have relatively little control because it is not like food allergies where a- you can choose what to put in your mouth and b- It is easier to decide what is safe because labelling is so advanced and c- awareness for latex allergy is so poor even amongst professionals who should know better.Also all spontaneity goes out of your life,even a visit to my sons friends house becomes a round of phone calls to people I have never met before to ask weird questions. At the moment we are trying to travel for a holiday to USA and have met nothing but problems no one is willing to change anything re food prep. I was so surprised because I thought USA would be so advanced and ultra aware because of the litigation culture of your country ,although UK is catching up fast on that front.


Penny Duff RN: Silver Spring, MD


I am really more "sensitive" at this point than allergic, but I know all too well how swiftly that can change. I've been a nurse for 25 years. I am also a lesbian. When anything with latex touches a mucous membrane, the burning is unbearable. Unfortunately, most sex "toys" are latex, and most condoms are latex. In the age of HIV/AIDS, it's appalling that non-latex condoms (which I've used to protect myself from latex in toys) are grossly more expensive and often hard to find. It is critical that you expand your campaign to include condoms--especially since that is the major preventative with all STDs, but especially HIV. As for me, I make sure I list latex as an allergy. I personally have had allergies cross over from annoying to life-threatening.


Judy Winslow Hoffman: Plant City, FL


After working as a RN for 16 yrs., I was diagnosed with latex allergy type 1 & 4 in the year 2000. After several rounds of denial and discountenance through the Work Comp process, I lost my career, proper medical care, custody of my children, and considered suicide on many occasions. I pleaded with all the appropriate resources for intervention. It took 7 years to get disability benefits – thank you Morgan & Morgan, Orlando, Florida. I haven't seen my children in 8 years. And, I fight day-to-day to have equal access and protection of my civil rights to participate in the benefit of services provided by various entities, not limited to: restaurants, medical and dental providers, and retail stores. As a (disabled RN) graduate student at Florida Gulf Coast University ~ who has a NO latex policy in place since 2005-2006; especially for latex balloons and gloves; I am working on a master’s in public administration and concluding in May 2010 with a Capstone Project entitled “Latex Allergy: A Subtle Epidemic, The Need For Awareness, Education, and Advocacy ,” I am trying to facilitate the needs and the rights of others in the same situation as myself, Veronica, and ALL the many others who have suffered this exasperating circumstance – LATEX ALLERGY. It is real and until the medical community makes an effort to accept the circumstances fully, many more will continue to suffer.


Desirae Boydte: Madison, WI


I had been working in Food Service for about five years and required to constantly wear latex gloves. My hands would itch and itch when I first started wearing them. One day we had a half hour rush where I could not take off my gloves and I started to notice swelling and suddenly I could not breathe. Luckily my co worker was asthmatic and she gave me some of her inhaler because the Dr.'s said that probably saved my life. That happened in 2000, and shortly after the state I lived in Rhode Island banned latex glove use. I am originally from WI and when I moved back here it was a lot to adjust to, this state is better than most but still you can never be too careful. Just last month I was eating in a restaurant I normally do and they have never used latex. I finished the appetizer and my friend looked at me and asked if I was ok I said no. I took 150 mg of benedryl and then had to inject with my epipen. I learned that even if a place does not usually use the gloves sometimes they get the wrong ones in and use both so ALWAYS ask. No meal is good enough to die over.


Cheri Held: O Fallon, Missouri


I have been a nurse for 33 years now and my latex allergies seems to have started approx. 5 years ago. In that short time the symptoms have advanced from simple itching after wearing latex gloves (a requirement at work) to blisters on contact, vertigo and nausea along with SOB (shortness of breath). I now feel that I will need to carry an Epi-pen to avoid any near death situations and leave my nursing if I want to continue living.


Erica Paulsen: Fremont, Ne


My Latex allergy has gotten worse over the years. I was diagnosed with it when I was 15 years old and the more I have interacted with it the worse my allergy has gotten. Particles in the air from a latex balloon sent me into shock last week at work and I almost died. A squad was called out because my blood pressure was extremely high and I went in and out of consciousness. This is a terrible allergy. I cant believe it has came to this. I know how people with the allergy feel and I didnt realize until last week how serious my allergy was. I now know that I must take every precaution possible to avoid the trauma that this allergy can cause.


Bailey Gammell: Houston, Tx


When I was 12 years old, I fell down a flight of stairs and ripped a muscle in my right knee resulting in me attending physical therapy for 6 months and wearing a knee brace for a year and a half which had to have complete contact to the skin. The inner lining was made of Natural Rubber Latex. When I was 14 I had knee surgery, yet was surprised on the inflammation after the surgery. During my post-op check up I was switched to a Latex free gauze and bandage and told to stay away from Latex. I am now 17 years old and am extremely reactive. I carry a first-aid kit that compiles of Latex-Free bandages, gauze, gloves and Benadryl and an EpiPen. A list of products that commonly contain latex is folded and in the first aid kid as well. I live in the fourth largest city in the United States, and to be unable to find a doctor that has a Latex-Free office, is hard to understand. On one occasion, I was out with some friends at a popular known restaurant, and on our way back to my friends house, I began to feel nauseas, my chest felt hea. I automatically assumed it was food-poisoning. She pulled the car over and I began throwing up violently on the side of the road. What I didn’t get was my friend was feeling was feeling fine, I was throwing up, and we shared an entrée. I began to go through my list of possible causes, yet the only thing that stuck in my mind was a latex reaction. When we finally got to my friends house, I looked up the restaurant online and called. Sure enough, the kitchen staff always uses Latex Gloves when preparing food. I have never eaten there since. My reactions have greatly increased throughout the last year. I have seen several doctors about the issue, yet none seem to have an explanation. The solution I have come up with is staying away from foods that contain the latex protein, especially avocado, chestnuts, banana and kiwi. I carry my first aid kid, and just stay out of situations that would put me in contact with latex.


Kristin Phillippi: Ellwood City, pa

Hello my name is Kristin. I do not have Latex allergy YET, but I probably will when I get a little bit older. I am 26 years old and my mother has extreme latex allergy. She has all the symptoms vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing,sore joints and muscles, dizziness and vertigo, nausea, scratchy throat and extreme swelling. My mother has had this problem since I was 13. It has cost her her whole life. When we first found out what it was she was 1 in around 100 in the united state that they knew off. No one know what it was about and what would make it worse. We meet people all the time now who say they have latex allergy but they are still using stuff that is bad and not watching... I warn you start watching... It will only get worse. You have to change what you wear, where you work, whats in your house, what you touch, and what you eat. The newest food my mother can't eat is onions, not because of the onion but because of how they are grown in other places with that black mulch that is latex. Celery is another big one. Please read labels there is stuff everywhere be careful it took us years to learn the hundreds of no's. My mom is just lucky that we pay attention or it could be her life. this is not just a allergy you can brush off you have to learn to live around it. Feel free to contact me I will try to help who ever needs to talk or have questions. God bless you all.


Sally MacIntyre: London, England


Every time I go to the dentist I have a severe reaction in my mouth - I think it is the Latex gloves they are using - how can I treat it - I have a burning sensation in my mouth, sores on my lips, and my tongue is so sore and itchy - I had a rash on my skin eveywere the dentist touched me for gland checkup - HELP!


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