Contact sensitization in very young children

Anna Belloni Fortina, Ilaria Romano, Andrea Peserico, Lawrence F Eichenfield
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2011, 65 (4): 772-779

BACKGROUND: Allergic contact dermatitis is an increasingly recognized clinical problem in children.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of our study was to evaluate contact sensitization in patients younger than 3 years of age with suspected contact dermatitis.

METHODS: During a 6-year period (2002-2008), 321 children underwent routine patch testing with a screening pediatric standard series of 30 allergens.

RESULTS: Two hundred children (62.3%; 102 girls and 98 boys aged 3-36 months [mean age 27 + 5.6 months]) developed at least one positive reaction. The most frequent reactions were to nickel sulfate (26.8%), followed by potassium dichromate (9%), cocamidopropylbetaine (7.2%), cobalt chloride (6.2%), neomycin sulfate (5%), and methylchloroisothiazolinone/methylisothiazolinone (4.4%). The prevalence of contact sensitization was similar in children with (61.3%) and without (63%) atopic dermatitis.

LIMITATIONS: The prevalence of contact sensitization in children younger than 3 years of age was not compared with the prevalence in older children.

CONCLUSION: A high prevalence of contact sensitization was found in preschool children, even younger than 3 years of age. Patch testing should be considered in this age group when persistent dermatitis does not respond to conventional treatment.

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