The prevalence of allergic contact dermatitis seems underestimated. It is often confused with other types of dermatitis, such as atopic eczema. In fact, contact sensitisation may be found in 13.3- 24.5% of randomly selected children; moreover, at least half of the positive test results prove clinically significant. There are convincing data that sensitisation to common contact allergens may occur already in the first months of life - contact allergy may be more common among children under 3 years than in older children and adults.
Data from numerous studies show that contact allergy in children appears most commonly to nickel (15.9-18.0% in different study groups), thimerosal (11.3-37.5%), fragrances (4.4-19.2%), chromium (21.0%), ethylmercuric chloride (14.7-28.1%), cobalt (5.7-11.0%), neomycin (1.4-10.0%), rubber chemicals (6.5%), balsam of Peru (2.6-6.0%), and colophony (6.0%). This suggests that patch testing should be included into diagnostic routine in children with dermatitis.
Key words: alergic contact dermatitis, children, contact allergens, prevalence.
© Radoslaw Spiewak
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