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Latex allergies are caused by touching or inhaling natural latex allergens—proteins in the sap of the rubber tree—that cause an allergic reaction in some people. Some are affected by latex powder if inhaled, others by skin contact with latex, such as with surgical gloves. Severe cases can cause anaphylaxis, the most serious type of allergic reaction. Most experts believe that the allergy has surfaced recently as a result of the increased use of latex to protect people from infectious agents. There may be other causes as well. Synthetic latex is not an allergen, but natural latex is.

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