This week is Latex Allergy Awareness Week. About 3 million Americans are affected by latex allergies. The symptoms and signs can range from an itchy rash, like hives from contact, up to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. The main things are to be aware if you or a significant other have latex allergy and then next to make sure that all of your health care providers and family members take steps to prevent an inadvertant exposure to latex. In the U.S., latex allergy is diagnosed by the combination of history, physical exam, and a RAST blood test for latex-IgE antibodies. There is no approved skin test at this time. The treatment is to avoid latex products. The epidemic of latex allergy has spawned an entirely new line of medical products - with no latex being used in the manufacturing process.