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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Lorraine Trause: Carlstadt, New Jersey


The most disconcerting aspect of having a latex allergy is the negative reaction and disbelief that most people have. Workplace, restaurants, grocery stores and most medical facilities refuse to acknowledge the life threatening reactions we experience when exposed to items containing latex. Hidden latex contamination is especially difficult to ascertain because companies are unwilling to give credence to our affliction.


shelby white: del mar, california


my latex allergy, like others, began slowly and with steadily increasing symptoms. i first noticed it in college, about 20 years ago. in 2008, after i dropped my daughters off at preschool, i suffered anaphylaxsis, though was thankfully driving by a hospital on my way home. when the doc asked me what has triggered my reaction, i though of nothing other than my daughter rubbing a balloon on the outside of my skirt at dropoff. has it come to that, i thought...now it only has to touch my clothes? my doc advised against epi-pens because i would have to use them too often. i go through benadryl like water. it's apparently not harmful, in fact i have thrice been told benadryl or hydroxizine pam is much better for my body than epi. i live in maine and in san diego, two totally divergent places, and find latex is overused in southern californian restaurants. it is to the point where there is benadryl in my: car, upstairs bath, downstairs bath, purse, husband's car, parent's home, and at the gym. i often have hives, joint pain, swelling, slurred speech, and a host of other symptoms. i feel badly for my daughters who know not to bring latex anywhere near me, and who know how to call for help when i can't breathe well. they make fun of my slurred speech and beg for balloons. this is a crappy allergy, because it's airborne, everywhere, and not too many folks take it seriously. this site is a blessing and a great restaurant guide. when i am in san diego, i often get hassled by restaurant mangers for asking if latex is present. just two days ago a manager said, "if you have a food allergy i can help you, but i have never heard of anyone being allergic to latex. it's what restaurants use."


Leslie Tayler: Pittsford, New York


I have been anaphylaxis to latex for 15 years. I have experienced two episodes related to meals eaten at restaurants where the food provider wore latex gloves. Both episodes required hospitalization. I avoid latex balloons, gloves, anything that could set off an attack. My husband is an executive with a large company, we are often invited out, it becomes embarrassing having to "check" if the restaurant is latex free. I am often told it is a health department rule that latex gloves are worn. I usually miss most dinners, he goes alone. I see a dentist in NY city who has the same allergy, his practice is latex free, his entire career has changed because of the allergy and yet he adjusted so why can't the food industry adjust? It is such a simple thing for restaurants to change and yet it seems like a monumental task when you ask them to change. They are putting their own employees at risk.


Jana Ware: McKinney, TX


I am a 29 yr old female who developed an allergy to latex slowly. As a child I got hives, as a teen I got blisters, and as an adult I can't breathe when latex is around. I can't walk into a building with fresh latex or within 20 feet of a balloon without a reaction. I have to call ahead to hospitals, doctors, dentists, and restaurants to know if they are latex safe. I have lost jobs because of my allergy, lost hours of work from airborn contact, and lost time with my child because of the aftermath of the allergy. My mother has this allergy, so do several of my friends. I as all children loved balloons, but now I fear them as does my 7 yr old who looks out for anything rubber or latex that could make mommy sick. This is a disease not just an inconvience (although it is that as well). What will it take to get the word out about the dangers of this product long term? People don't know the serious side effects or how to react. People ask questions about obvious things, but are unaware of what we go through.


Erica Ostertag: Tulsa, Ok


I was pregnant with triplets. When I went to the clinic for routine blood work I told the lady I have a latex allergy. She repeatedly touched latex (gloves and tournicate)I asked her to wash her hands and she refused. She stuck the neddle in my arm and drew my sample. Five minutes later I went into shock. I ended up with lesions and hives for 3 months. I was having problems breathing and they gave me several different drugs to counteract the latex poison. I ended up losing the babys at 3 1/2 months.


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.


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