According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, (AAFA) less than one percent of Americans have an allergy to latex. There are certain high-risk groups for a latex allergy: Children with spina bifida, children who frequently undergo medical treatments, and health care workers (or other workers who regularly use latex gloves).
“Between 8 to 17 percent of healthcare workers and others who regularly use latex gloves are allergic to latex,” the AAFA website explains. “Health care workers and children who have other allergies and get contact dermatitis when they use latex gloves are more likely to develop a latex allergy.”
According to the AAFA, symptoms of a latex allergy are generally mild. People may experience itching and swelling where they have touched a latex product, for example on their lips after blowing up a latex balloon. Symptoms of a more serious allergy include hives, inflammation of the eyes, trouble breathing, and anaphylaxis.
Some mattresses contain latex, posing an issue for people with latex allergies. Since most mattress latex is placed in a mattress core, not on the surface, it’s not common for people to come into direct contact with latex when sleeping on a latex mattress.
Thus, people who have a mild allergy may have no issues with a latex core mattress, since the irritant is not coming into contact with their skin. For someone with a severe allergy, it’s likely best to avoid latex products altogether. Alternatives like a wool-filled mattress may be the best bet. If you don’t know where to start, the American Latex Allergy Association provides lists of latex-free products.
If you have a latex allergy and you are concerned about your mattress posing a threat to your health, consult your doctor — or a board-certified allergist — about your options.
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Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site.
He likes things simple and take a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications.
Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.