Allergic contact dermatitis in 136 children patch tested between 2000 and 2006

L Mark Hammonds, Virginia C Hall, James A Yiannias
International Journal of Dermatology 2009, 48 (3): 271-4

BACKGROUND: Allergic contact dermatitis is often under-recognized in the pediatric population but it may affect greater than 20% of this age group.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review of the Mayo Rochester, Jacksonville and Arizona patch test database of all children 18 or younger over a 7-year period (January 1, 2000-December 31, 2006).

RESULTS: One-hundred thirty-six children were patch tested from age 3 to 18. Females constituted 66% of those tested and males 34%. Eighty percent of the children were equally distributed between age groups 11-15 and 16-18, with the remainder being 10 years or younger. Sixty-one percent of the children tested positive to at least one allergen. Fifty-three percent of these reactions were deemed to be of current relevance, 31% questionable relevance, 5% past relevance, and 10% not relevant. Males younger than 10 were most likely to have a positive patch test. However, the percent of positive tests in males decreased with increasing age. Females younger than age 10 were less likely to have a positive test than older females. The most common allergens were nickel, cobalt, gold, and thimerosal.

CONCLUSION: In children suspected to have allergic contact dermatitis, 61% were confirmed to have a positive reaction to at least one allergen. The utility of patch testing children whose clinical presentation is suggestive for allergic contact dermatitis is high.

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