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Latex Allergy Blood Test

Last updated May 23, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

The Latex Allergy Blood Test helps determine if an individual is allergic to latex.

What are other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Latex-Specific IgE Blood Test
  • Latex-Specific Immunoglobulin E Blood Test

What is Latex Allergy Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Latex is a type of rubber used in various medical and non-medical products, including gloves, bandages, and catheters. It is harvested from the rubber tree and converted to usable latex before the product hardens
  • Many individuals are allergic to latex. Allergic reactions may range from mild to severe. Allergic reactions are often caused by antibodies, which are defense proteins that target foreign invaders. Antibodies, or immunoglobulins (Ig’s), include IgA, IgG, IgM, IgD, and IgE
  • Allergic reactions to latex are caused by sensitivity of IgE to latex. There are 2 types of latex allergies:
    • Type IV: Allergic contact dermatitis caused by contact with the chemicals used in manufacturing latex, not necessarily latex itself
    • Type I: Reaction to the proteins found in the natural latex product
  • The Latex Allergy Blood Test helps determine if an individual is allergic to latex

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Latex Allergy Blood Test?

The clinical indicators for performing the Latex Allergy Blood Test include the following (after one comes into contact with latex products):

  • Redness
  • Blistering
  • Rash on the skin
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Swelling

Additionally, individuals may be evaluated for a possible latex allergy before undergoing surgery requiring latex products or prior to being administered a catheter.

How is the Specimen Collected for Latex Allergy Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Latex Allergy Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood 

Process of obtaining a blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Latex Allergy Blood Test Result?

  • The presence of more than 0.35 international units/mL of latex-specific IgE in an individual’s blood may be interpreted as a positive value
  • A positive value for the Latex Allergy Blood Test may point to a diagnosis of latex allergy

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • One of the most common applications of latex is in rubber gloves. Since 1987, healthcare personnel have been required to wear gloves as a universal barrier to transmitting disease. However, it is estimated that 10-15% of healthcare workers are allergic to latex

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:


References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: June 3, 2016
Last updated: May 23, 2018