The study report in the Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, highlights that skin reactions to allergens are common among children.
Such reactions can occur both on areas of the skin that come in direct contact with an allergen (contact dermatitis), and on areas that are not directly affected (atopic dermatitis).
suspected of contact dermatitis are often referred for patch testing, in which
skin is exposed to various allergens affixed to a plaster tape to identify
which cause a reaction.
study, Dr. Kathryn A. Zug and colleagues at of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical
Center, Lebanon, analysed results from 391 children age 18 and younger, who
underwent patch testing between 2001 and 2004.
researchers compared results of the paediatric population to a group of 9,670
adults, who were tested during the same time period.
observed that children as well as adults tested positive for at least one
allergen at approximately the same rate.
study showed significant differences between the frequency of individual
positive reactions to allergen patch tests in children and adults; children
were more likely to have reactions to nickel, cobalt, thimerosal and lanolin,
whereas adults were more likely to have positive reactions to neomycin,
fragrance mix, M. pereirae (balsam of Peru [an extract from the balsam tree
used as an alternative therapy]) and quaternium 15," the authors write.
to them, some children reacted to supplemental allergens not included in common
patch test series (15 percent), or in commercially available tests (39
noted that children with a positive reaction were more likely to have atopic
dermatitis included as one of their final diagnoses than were adults.
testing in children suspected of having allergic contact dermatitis is a
valuable endeavour. Despite their limited back size, an expanded allergen
series helps to identify important positive relevant allergens. Allergen
concentration does not need modification for testing in children," the
top 45 allergens with the most frequent positive and relevant reactions
reported in this study should serve as a guide to patch testing in children
suspected of having allergic contact dermatitis in North America. Including
supplemental allergens to the patch test materials based on clinical suspicion
is also useful in some patients," they add.