Latex allergy testing
Latex allergy is sensitivity to one, or several, proteins found in natural rubber made from the sap of a tropical tree, Hevea brasiliensis. This type of rubber is used to make gloves, balloons and condoms. Medical and dental gloves used in the U.K. now are largely made from synthetic nitrile rubber and hence are latex-free. However, other items used in healthcare and surgery may contain rubber and so it may be necessary to test a patient for latex allergy.
Testing for latex allergy involves taking a detailed history and carrying out prick testing to a latex solution and to a source of latex protein. This procedure is quick, painless and safe. If testing is negative, further tests including provocation testing with a glove or balloon, or doing a blood (antibody) test may be helpful to exclude latex allergy.
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