All patients should be asked about symptoms after hospital visits or after contact with rubber products. Patients with a history of proven reactions should be managed in a latex-free environment. Patients with one or more risk factors but no previous symptoms can be managed normally, but must be closely monitored for any signs of reaction.
Patient groups at risk for developing latex allergy and the prevalence of latex sensitisation in these groups are listed in Table 1 below.
Patient risk groups
| Patients with spina bifida and congenital genitourinary abnormalities|
| Healthcare workers |
| Rubber industry workers|
| Atopic patients (asthma, rhinitis, eczema) or allergy to foods known to cross-react with latex|
| Patients who have undergone multiple operations|
| Patients who have undergone multiple catheterisation|
| Women are at higher risk than men (reason for this is unclear)|
Table 1. Groups of people at risk of latex allergy
In addition to these risk groups, individuals who have certain food allergies, including banana, avocado, chestnut, apricot, kiwi, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, peach, nectarine, plum, cherry, melon, fig, grape, potato, tomato and celery, may also have a co-existing latex allergy. Other implicated foods and food products include apple, pear, carrot, hazelnut, wheat, rye, mugwort, profilin, potatin, plant stress proteins and ficus. The latex sensitivity may appear before, at the same time or after the development of the food sensitivity. Questioning about latex reactivity and skin and serological testing should be considered in this group. However, not all patients with these food allergies will require latex avoidance, and, similarly, not all patients with latex allergies will have problems with these foods.
Cross-reaction with certain foods