iPad causes body rash from nickel allergy

By Ashley Mitchem - Reporter, anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Do you have an unexplained rash? Check your iPad.

It turns out the popular tablet computer may contain nickel, one of the most common allergy-inducing metals.

A new report in the Journal of Pediatrics says people can experience nickel allergies from a variety of personal electronic devices, including laptops and cellphones.

An 11-year-old boy from San Diego was recently hospitalized with an itchy body rash because of his iPad and a nickel allergy.

"So contact reactions you might get from earrings, costume jewelry, rings or naval rings, things like that," Dr. Sunil Joshi said. "Belt buckles is something we see very frequently."

Nickel rashes aren't life-threatening but they can be uncomfortable, and they may require treatment with steroids and antibiotics.

The boy had a common skin condition that causes scaly patches, but he developed a different rash all over his body that didn't respond to usual treatment.

Skin testing showed he had a nickel allergy, and doctors traced it to an iPad.

Doctors tested the device and detected a chemical compound found in nickel in the iPad's outside coating.

"The reason it's hard to figure out is the reaction usually occurs a couple days after the exposure, so you may have been exposed to large amounts and then you start itching two or three days later," Joshi said.

Nickel rashes also have been traced to other common products, including some jewelry, eyeglass frames and zippers.

Evidence suggests nickel allergies are becoming more common, with data showing that about 25 percent of children who get skin tests for allergies have nickel allergies, versus about 17 percent a decade ago.

"If you can minimize direct contact with your skin with something that you're sensitive to, then you're probably not going to react," Joshi said.

The good news is, the boy got better after putting the iPad in a protective case.

If you think you may have a nickel allergy, go in and get tested.

Copyright 2014 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.