That curious itch or rash that’s been bugging you may be from using your iPad. That’s because it may contain nickel, a metal that can rub people the wrong way says a New York allergist.
“We see nickel allergies all the time,” said Punita Ponda, MD, assistant division chief for the Division of Allergy & Immunology at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park. “It’s probably one of the most common contact dermatitis allergens, but it’s usually related to jewelry and some cosmetics. There have even been recent reports of specific foods also having small amounts of nickel.”
Dr. Ponda has yet to come across any patients affected by their electronic tablets. Although the likelihood of that happening doesn’t surprise her, given the prevalence of the metal devices and how often they’re held by users.
According to a report in today’s Pediatrics, an 11-year-old boy was recently treated at a San Diego hospital for a rash caused by his iPad. Nickel allergies have been linked to other personal electronic devices as well, such as laptops and cellphones.
Nickel rashes aren’t life-threatening. About 90 to 95 percent of allergic reactions to nickel are mild, often requiring just avoidance of the allergen, said Dr. Ponda. More severe reactions may require steroids and antibiotics.
For those with nickel allergies, the doctor suggests using covers and cases when using electronic devices to avoid contact with the skin.
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