Latex allergy in health care

  • Tina Virtič
  • Marjan Bilban


The increasing use of natural rubber latex medical gloves in the last three decades has caused an increase in latex allergy. The majority of risk groups for allergy development include health care workers, workers in the rubber industry, atopic individuals and children with congenital malformations. Three types of pathological reactions can occur in people using latex medical gloves: irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis and immediate hypersensitivity. The latex allergy is caused by constituent components of latex gloves and added powders; there are also numerous latex allergens involved in cross-reactivity between latex and fruits and vegetables, the so-called latex-fruit syndrome. The diagnosis is based on an accurate history of exposure, clinical presentation and confirmatory in vivo and in vitro tests. Prevention is the easiest, most effective and least expensive way to avoid latex allergy. Powder-free latex gloves with reduced levels of proteins and chemicals, and synthetic gloves for allergic workers must be provided in the work environment. There are already many health care institutions around the world where all latex products have been replaced by synthetic material products.


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How to Cite
Virtič T, Bilban M. Latex allergy in health care. ZdravVestn [Internet]. 1Nov.2012 [cited 17Jan.2019];81(11). Available from: