August 18, 2017
 
 
Latex allergy is not fully understood at this time.  Current knowledge and available evidence indicates that people with spina bifida are at significant risk of becoming allergic to natural latex rubber, with possible life-threatening reactions.  Individuals with spina bifida and their families are urged to consider the following recommendations:  
  1. All individuals with spina bifida should be considered at high risk for having an allergic reaction to rubber and should avoid contact with latex products in all settings from birth.  Alternative products, usually made of silicone, plastic, nitrile or vinyl, can usually be safely substituted.  See the American Latex Allergy Association  website for substitutions.  
  2. Individuals who have had an allergic reaction to latex should wear a medic-alert bracelet  or necklace, carry auto-injectable epinephrine and sterile non-latex gloves and other necessary non-latex equipment for emergency use.
  3. Latex allergy and latex avoidance should be discussed with all health care and community providers including school, day care and camp.
  4. Consultation with health care providers familiar with the latex allergy is recommended before hospitalization or surgery to prevent inadvertent exposure and plan for latex-safe care. 

It is estimated that approximately 73% of people with spina bifida have a latex allergy, therefore it is important that latex exposure be minimized as much as possible in their everyday environments.