Latex Allergy

Latex Allergies

What is Latex?

Latex is a type of natural rubber that can be used to make products such as:

  • Condoms
  • Dental dams
  • Balloons
  • Gloves
  • Bandages
  • Rubber bands

What Causes a Latex Allergy?

Latex allergies are caused by a certain protein in latex rubber. Once this protein comes into contact with the body, it can cause multiple symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of a Latex Allergy?

Symptoms range from mild to severe, and show up from 12 to 36 hours after contact with latex. These might include:

  • Rashes, blisters, redness or hives
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Sneezing or runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shock

Can I Still Have Safer Sex If I Have a Latex Allergy?

Definitely! Here are some tips:

  1. Use safer sex products made of polyisoprene, polyurethane or nitrile.
    • All registered UC Davis students can visit the Love Lab for no-cost safer sex products. Non-latex options are available!
    • Check out the UC Davis Sexcess Map to find sexual health resources on and around campus.
  2. Tell your partner(s) about your allergy so that they know you need to use non-latex products.
  3. Non-latex products might be more difficult to find than latex products, so make sure to keep a supply handy for when you need them.

What Else Can I Do to Stay Healthy If I Have a Latex Allergy?

1. Tell your healthcare provider so that they can take precautions and wear non-latex gloves.

2. Wear a medical alert bracelet or keychain so that any emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or healthcare providers will know about your allergy.

3. Ask your healthcare provider about carrying an Epinephrine self-injection pen in the event of a serious allergic reaction.