The Relationship Between Latex Allergies & Food

There is a relationship between latex and certain fruits and vegetables. These food based allergic reactions, in connection with latex, occur not only when the fruit/vegetables is eaten, but when in contact with skin, and in some cases smelled. These cross reactive foods can effect 30-50% of those who have latex sensitivities.

Studies have shown that the link between latex and fruit/vegetables occur because the body recognizes similarly structured proteins in the foods and triggers an allergic reaction. The same holds true for topical applications that involve plant-based ingredients. Latex itself is a derivative of the Hevea brasiliensis (Pará rubber tree). The allergen hevein is the major allergen that is latex associated and is also found in certain fruits, especially banana, avocado, chestnut and kiwi.

The web site Allergy & Asthma Network compiled a list of foods to avoid with a latex allergy:

Low or undetermined cross-reactivity with latex

  • Apricot
  • Buckwheat
  • Cassava/Manioc
  • Castor bean
  • Cherry
  • Chick pea
  • Citrus fruits
  • Coconut
  • Cucumber
  • Dill
  • Eggplant or Aubergine
  • Fig
  • Goji berry or Wolfberry
  • Grape
  • Hazelnut
  • Indian jujube
  • Jackfruit
  • Lychee
  • Mango
  • Nectarine
  • Oregano
  • Passion fruit
  • Peach
  • Peanut
  • Pear
  • Peppers (Cayenne, Sweet or Bell)
  • Persimmon
  • Pineapple
  • Pumpkin
  • Rye
  • Sage
  • Strawberry
  • Shellfish
  • Soybean
  • Sunflower seed
  • Tobacco
  • Turnip
  • Walnut
  • Wheat
  • Zucchini

Moderate cross-reactivity with latex

  • Apple
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Melons
  • Papaya
  • Potato
  • Tomato

High cross-reactivity with latex

  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Chestnut
  • Kiwi

Products just as medical tape, gloves, and wound dressings historically contain latex. This poses a problem for healthcare workers as well as patients. One way to help is by seeking out latex free options. Nitrile gloves are latex free and have very low allergy rates (less than 1% of users). They are the most popular type of glove used today which is mainly attributed to their versatility (can be used in almost every industry), very low allergy rates, and price. There are many dressings and bandages made up of non reactive substrates. Cotton gauze is a great dressing that is adhesive free. One of the best benefits of choosing gauze as a wound dressing is that it is very versatile. While trimming it requires work, it also allows the patient or caregiver to make it conform to the exact size needed to create an effective and comfortable wound dressing. Hy-Tape is a latex free, waterproof tape that is a great choice for securing a dressing. Hy-Tape provides a thin, conforming tape that holds firm without stressing skin thanks to the zinc-oxide adhesive and the gentle release it provides.

If you would like to try Hy-Tape, please click here.