14.1 Latex allergy
A small number of patients are allergic to natural latex. Natural latex is made from the rubber tree. It is thought that some individuals become sensitive to the proteins present in the latex through repeated exposure. Patients with spina bifida are particularly prone to acquiring natural latex allergy, because they frequently require surgery, during which they may be exposed to latex from surgical equipment. Healthcare workers are also prone to acquiring latex allergy from the same equipment. There is a movement to eliminate the use of natural latex within healthcare precisely because of this problem.