Latex can be found in items of clothing, medical supplies, decorative and party supplies, household products and adhesives, and many different toys and child-friendly items. Latex is a major material used to make gloves, balloons, condoms and elastic bands, but traces of latex are found in many other commonly used items as well. The American Latex Allergy Association maintains a comprehensive database of latex products so that people with latex allergies can properly research which products may harm them.
Items with trace amounts of latex are often found in school and work environments and can include adhesive tape, erasers, glue sticks, modeling clay and paint. Participants in sports and physical activity also frequently come into contact with latex. Swimming caps, wet suits, protective eyewear, mouth guards and bike helmets have been known to contain small amounts of latex. Several types of clothing also contain latex, including pantyhose, raincoats, undergarments, swim suits, and rubber shoes and boots.
A latex allergy is a condition that arises from a negative reaction to certain proteins found in rubber latex. Reactions usually are limited to mild skin irritation or a brief headache, but in certain cases anaphylactic shock can occur. This shock can lead to extreme difficulty breathing, dizziness or even a loss of consciousness.