What is Latex Food Syndrome?

Latex food syndrome is a typical allergy related to certain foods that contain structurally similar proteins like that of latex extracted from rubber plants. Natural latex is a milky white sap found in the liquid rubber that is used to manufacture some common products like gloves, balloons, hollow tubes, balls, etc. It is found that 30-50% people, who are allergenic to this latex, are also allergenic to certain foods like banana, chestnut, tomato, potato, etc. Hence, the name of the syndrome is given "Latex Food Syndrome". If a person has a known allergy to latex, he/she can be tested, whether he or she has a positive allergy to a food, or vice versa. If the test result comes positive, then the situation is called "cross-reactivity" of the body's immune system.

What is Latex Food Syndrome?

Symptoms of Latex Food Syndrome

The symptoms of latex food syndrome can range from mild oral allergy symptoms to a severe anaphylactic reaction. The oral allergy symptoms include the following:

  • Swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, and throat
  • Runny nose, and teary eyes
  • Scratchy throats
  • Itchy mouth
  • Redness of the mouth, etc.

At the same time, breathing problem may also occur. In most of the cases, the symptoms disappear within an hour. However, in some people with latex food syndrome, anaphylactic reactions may occur, which are directly linked to an immune disorder. They begin with some sorts of uneasiness, and then transform into dizziness, and tingling sensations. Soon, they can transform into life-threatening reactions.

Cross-reactivity and Latex Food Syndrome

Cross reactivity occurs due the presence of structurally similar proteins in rubber latex and certain foods. This means, people who have latex allergy will also become allergenic to these food products, or vice versa. As per the statistics available, almost 70% people with latex allergy are allergenic to at least one of the related food products, and 50% people are allergenic to at least two such food products. On the other hand, there is almost 90% chance that a person allergenic with latex like food products will be allergenic to latex products.

Common Foods Related to Latex Food Syndrome

Some foods, including fruits that are found to cross-react with rubber latex are as follows:

  • Potato
  • Tomato
  • Chestnut
  • Melon
  • Green pepper
  • Wheat
  • Mango
  • Passion Fruit
  • Kiwi
  • Pineapple
  • Papaya
  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Cherimoya.

Time to time, researchers have been adding new names in this list. Hence, this list is not exhaustive, as new names may also be added later.

Diagnosis of Latex Food Syndrome

People allergenic to latex need to undergo an allergy test for the above-mentioned food stuffs too, with the help of certain skin testing for food allergies, or prick-prick testing procedure. If the test result comes positive, then the physician will take necessary step to prevent that syndrome from occurring.

Treatment of Latex Food Syndrome

There is no specific treatment procedure available to treat latex food syndrome. Doctors advise for some preventive methods, which inevitably include avoidance of all the food products that may cause latex food syndrome. Besides, they ask the patients to wear medical alert identification, and keep the epinephrine auto-injector with them, always available, for emergency use.

Conclusion

There is no specific treatment procedure available for latex food syndrome. Thus, it is feasible to take necessary preventive methods to stay away from the symptoms. Patients with this problem must have a clear knowledge about all the foodstuffs that cause latex food syndrome in their body. At the same time, if they are diagnosed with latex allergy, they need to stay away from all rubber-made products, and follow doctors' advice strictly.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: May 16, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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