Question of the Day – Friday November 30, 2018

Question – Latex is derived from rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis) and reactions to latex can be caused by allergic or non-allergic hypersensitivity. Immune type reactions to latex include immediate hypersensitivity (type I) or delayed hypersensitivity (type IV) type reactions. What popular holiday plant belongs to the same plant family as natural rubber latex and thus exposure may result in cross sensitivity in individuals who suffer from latex allergy?

Answer – The cited article notes that “Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) belongs to the same plant family as natural rubber latex (Hevea brasiliensis). Thus, people with latex allergy have a tendency to develop cross sensitivity with the poinsettia plant.” (Bala TM and Panda M. No poinsettia this Christmas. 2006 Southern Med J 99(7): 772-773)