iPad’s alleged nickel content can cause rashes in children

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A new report in Pediatrics claims that an iPad was the cause of a recent itchy body rash in an 11-year-old boy recently treated at a San Diego hospital.

The reason? Like many personal electronic devices – including laptops and cellphones – iPads may contain nickel, one of the most common allergy-inducing metals.

While nickel rashes aren’t life-threatening, they can be very uncomfortable and may require treatment using steroids and antibiotics if skin eruptions become infected. Dr. Sharon Jacob, a dermatologist at Rady Children’s Hospital, who co-authored the report, said doctors traced the boy’s long-running skin to an iPad his family purchased in 2010.

“He used the iPad daily,” Jacob noted, pointing out the patient recovered after the device was put into a protective case.

Jacob claims that nickel allergies are becoming increasingly common, with national data showing that around 25 percent of children who get skin tests for allergies have nickel allergies, compared to just 17 percent one decade ago.

Given the amount of discussion there’s been in recent times about the suitability of children using iPads, this is perhaps another factor for parents to take into consideration. This isn’t the first time Apple products have been linked to skin allergies. A 2011 Apple support thread appears to relate to a similar adverse reaction. While this is hardly limited to Apple devices, it’s worth bearing in mind if you find yourself suffering allergic reactions after using your iPad or other device.

Dr. Jacob says that doctors should consider electronic devices as potential causes when patients seek treatment for skin rashes.

Apple spokesman Chris Gaither declined to comment on which Apple devices may contain nickel.

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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