What is Latex?
Latex is a type of natural rubber that can be used to make products such as:
- Dental dams
- 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
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
Can I Still Have Safer Sex If I Have a Latex Allergy?
Definitely! Here are some tips:
- Use safer sex products made of polyisoprene, polyurethane or nitrile.
- Tell your partner(s) about your allergy so that they know you need to use non-latex products.
- 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.