Latex is found in everyday items, including gloves, underwear bands, tennis shoes, balloons, rubber bands, condoms, and even the nipples on baby bottles and pacifiers. It's easy to imagine how terrifying it would be if you had a severe latex allergy that caused anaphylaxis. Even if you are not allergic to this versatile material, the variety of products that contain it may surprise you (via the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology).
So, precisely what is latex? Latex is a natural rubber to which some people may develop an allergy if repeatedly exposed. The reaction may begin mildly, but it can quickly escalate into a severe anaphylactic reaction with little warning.
According to the Mayo Clinic, people allergic to latex may experience anaphylaxis simply by inhaling latex particles in the air. People who work in health care or other industries that frequently use latex gloves are more likely to develop a latex allergy. Furthermore, people with multiple surgical procedures or hospital visits are more likely to develop a latex allergy, putting them at risk for anaphylactic reactions.
There are several ways to avoid latex allergy-related anaphylaxis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One is to avoid products containing latex, which can be difficult as it is found in many everyday products. Latex substitutes such as nitrile or vinyl gloves are another option. Lastly, people with a known latex allergy should always keep an EpiPen.