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Proteins are naturally found in the rubber tree itself. While proteins have a purpose in the life of the tree, for glove manufacturing it is thought that they can be removed and not affect the characteristics of the product. However, we are unaware of any manufacturing company producing protein-free latex gloves.


Irritations (Non-Allergy)


  • Itching, burning, redness (acute)
  • Dryness, crusting, cracking, formation of hard bumps (chronic)
  • Symptoms will present only on skin areas covered by the glove

Possible Causes

  • Manufacturing Chemicals
  • Soaps, antiseptics, scrub solutions and disinfectants
  • Atmosphere - cold, wind, aridity
  • Improper hand washing and drying


  • Identify and discontinue use of causative factor
  • Allow time for your hands to heal
  • Consider soaps etc. as well as the gloves as potential causes
  • Take steps to improve hand care practices


Type IV or Contact Dermatitis (Chemical Allergy)


  • May present as itching, dryness, redness, crusting, swelling, hives vesicles/blisters, papules and/or sores
  • Symptoms will present 1 - 2 days following contact
  • In chronic cases these symptoms may spread beyond the area of glove contact to other sites on the body
  • There is no respiratory or facial involvement, nor will the symptoms progress to anaphylaxis
  • These symptoms will diminish within two weeks of discontinuing use

Possible Causes

  • Manufacturing Chemicals
  • Soaps, detergents, antiseptics, and disinfectants
  • Other allergies and/or chronic eczema


  • Identify and discontinue use of causative factor
  • Allow time for your hands to heal
  • Consult with a dermatologist to select an alternative glove type (formulated for chemical allergies)


Type I (Protein Allergy)


  • A rash or hives (urticaria) located anywhere on the body
  • Accompanying respiratory affection (wheezing, difficult breathing)
  • Swelling of the facial area
  • Possible abdominal cramping, nausea and increased pulse
  • Symptoms will present within minutes of contact with a latex product

Possible Causes

  • Natural Rubber Latex protein allergy
  • Cross reactivity to certain food allergies (kiwi fruit, bananas, chestnuts, avocado)
  • Affection through skin contact, mucous membrane or wound contact, and/or injection aspiration


  • Identify and discontinue use of causative factor
  • Seek professional medical attention. Treatment with adrenaline/epinephrine may be required in the case of anaphylactic shock (rarely occurs)
  • Diagnostic testing involves a Skin Prick Test
  • Avoid all contact with natural rubber latex, both at work and at home
  • Consult with a dermatologist to select an alternative glove type (latex free)


* This is to serve only as a general evaluation and information reference, if suspected of potential allergy, please consult with your physicians for professional treatments.


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