Got a rash? iPad, other devices might be the cause
CHICAGO — Unexplained rash? Check your iPad. It turns out the popular tablet computer may contain nickel, one of the most common allergy-inducing metals.
Recent reports in medical journals detail nickel allergies from a variety of personal electronic devices, including laptops and cellphones. But it was an Apple iPad that caused an itchy body rash in an 11-year-old boy recently treated at a San Diego hospital, according to a report in Monday's Pediatrics.
Nickel rashes aren't life-threatening but they can be very uncomfortable, and they may require treatment with steroids and antibiotics if the skin eruptions become infected, said Dr. Sharon Jacob, a dermatologist at Rady Children's Hospital, where the boy was treated. Jacob, who co-wrote the report, said the young patient had to miss school because of the rash.
The boy discussed in the Pediatrics report had a common skin condition that causes scaly patches, but he developed a different rash all over his body that didn't respond to usual treatment. Skin testing showed he had a nickel allergy, and doctors traced it to an iPad his family had bought in 2010.
Doctors tested the device and detected a chemical found in nickel in the iPad's outside coating.
“He used the iPad daily,” Jacob said.
He got better after putting it in a protective case, she said
Whether all iPad models and other Apple devices contain nickel is uncertain; Apple spokesman Chris Gaither said the company had no comment.
Microsoft also declined to comment on whether its devices contain nickel, said spokeswoman Ryan Bartholomew.
Amy Storey, a spokeswoman for CTIA-The Wireless Association trade group, said nickel isn't widely used in the industry's products' outer coatings because it can block radio frequency signals from reaching the devices. She said she didn't know which makers use it.
People with existing nickel allergies are at risk for rashes from nickel-containing devices. According to an advisory about cellphones on the website of the Nickel Institute, a global association based in Toronto representing nickel producers, the risk arises from contact with nickel-plated outer surfaces “over prolonged periods of time.”
“The length of time required to elicit an allergic reaction will vary from 5 or 10 minutes to never, depending on the sensitivity of the individual,” the advisory says.
Nickel rashes also have been traced to other common products including some jewelry, eyeglass frames and zippers.
Jacob said evidence suggests nickel allergies are become more common, or increasingly recognized. She cited national data showing that about 25 percent of children who get skin tests for allergies have nickel allergies, versus about 17 percent a decade ago.
Clare Richardson, spokeswoman for the Nickel Institute, said research shows as many as 17 percent of women and 3 percent of men in the general population have nickel allergies. She noted that the European Union has legislation aimed at limiting the amount of nickel that can be released from products that come in direct and prolonged contact with skin.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Brashear cornerback Coleman picks Pitt
- Man critical after being shot in Pittsburgh’s Knoxville neighborhood
- Morton inconsistent, Bucs’ bats quiet in 5-0 loss to Rockies
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin mum on Bryant suspension
- Pope Francis’ lack of familiarity with United States unusual
- Obama inches closer to veto-proof support for Iran nuclear deal
- Pirates notebook: Burnett encouraged by extended simulated game
- Rossi: Beleaguered Steelers need MVP from Big Ben
- Big plays cost Steelers defense in preseason loss at Bills
- Editorial cartoons: Aug. 31-Sept. 6, 2015
- Supreme Court can resolve Kentucky county clerk’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to gays