Patch tests in children: a review of 13 years of experience in comparison with previous data

Maria Milingou, Anna Tagka, Melina Armenaka, Konstantina Kimpouri, Dimitris Kouimintzis, Alexandra Katsarou
Pediatric Dermatology 2010, 27 (3): 255-9
The true prevalence of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) in children remains unknown. Our aim was to compare the results of patch tests in children with suspected ACD between two different periods of time and identify possible changes in emerging allergens. We compared contact allergens, gender, age distribution, and personal history of atopic dermatitis (AD), in correlation with the positivity of patch tests, between two equal periods of time (232 children tested during 1980-1993, period A, and 255 children during 1994-2007, period B) in the same region and in the same institution. Patch test positivity was 47.8% in period A, and 60% in period B (p = 0.083). The most common allergens in period A were: nickel sulfate (16.3%), cobalt chloride (8.6%), fragrance mix (7.3%), potassium dichromate (4.3%), and thimerosal only (1.7%). In period B, the allergen distribution was as follows: nickel sulfate (21.56%), thimerosal (18.03%), cobalt chloride (12.9%), potassium dichromate (9.4%), and fragrance mix (4.7%). Girls were more likely to have a positive patch test compared with boys, with reactions in 53% of girls and 39% of boys in period A (p = 0.003), and 61% of girls and 58% of boys in period B (p = 0.691). Twenty-nine per cent of patients with positive results had a personal history of AD in period A and 44% in period B (p = 0.015). Differences in the positivity of allergens between different time periods reflect changes in habits, of allergens exposure or preventive measures.

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