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27-09-2011 | Immunology | Article

Allergic contact dermatitis common in children


Free abstract

MedWire News: Reports of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) affecting children are becoming more common, shows a scientific review of the skin condition.

The researchers suggest that the increase may be driven by children being exposed to more allergens, new trends in body piercing, use of cosmetic products, and/or increased participation in sports and hobbies.

Alternatively, the increase may simply reflect greater awareness of ACD, making people more likely to consult their doctors about the condition.

Common causes of ACD include exposure to nickel, fragrances, rubber, formaldehyde, certain medications, and chemicals used in hairdressing. Importantly, people who develop ACD as children are prone to suffering from recurrent dermatitis throughout their adult lives.

In the current study, Anne Simonsen (Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark) and team examined the medical literature for reports of ACD in children between 1999 and 2010.

Most of the reports concerned children who had been referred to dermatology or allergy clinics for investigation and were almost all based in North America or Europe. All of the children underwent skin patch tests.

Analysis revealed sensitization rates of 26.6-95.6% in selected groups of children, which is higher than the prevalence found in similar research conducted between 1982 and 1998, at 14.5-70%, the researchers note.

The most common allergy-causing substance was nickel, found in jewellery. Other frequent allergens were benzoyl peroxide (used in bleaching products and acne treatments), fragrances, and thimerosal (used as an antiseptic, disinfectant and preservative agent).

Dr Simonson and co-authors conclude: "Data from the past decade show us that contact allergy is common in the pediatric population, and should always be considered when children with recalcitrant eczema are encountered."

They add: "The probability of a true increase in the prevalence still remains to be elucidated.

"A study on a large selected cohort with statistical analysis that accounts for all possible confounders could be valuable."

By MedWire Reporters

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