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Contact allergy


Does your daughter have red swollen spots on her skin around the wrist after wearing her bracelet? Does your son have little blisters where his watch touches his skin? Does your child suffers from itching on his/her head after washing his/her hair with a new shampoo? Then it may be that your child is suffering from a contact allergy.

What is a contact allergy?

Contact allergy is an allergic reaction of the skin as a result of contact with a particular allergen. There are many different types of skin conditions that can be triggered by allergy and they can be extremely uncomfortable, causing a great deal of distress and even embarrassment. The most common forms of contact allergy include hives (also called urticaria) and contact eczema. Health care professionals also refer to these conditions as allergic contact dermatitis.

Nickel and rubber latex are examples of substances that frequently cause a contact allergy. But contact allergy is also seen in relation to cosmetics (including nail polish and hair dye) and personal care products (e.g. shampoos and creams).

How often does a contact allergy occur?

A contact allergy is seen regularly, but exact prevalence figures are not available.

What are the symptoms of a contact allergy?

The symptoms usually start at the location where the skin is or has been in contact with the allergen. In case of a nickel allergy, for example, the most common location is the area of the skin which is in contact with jewelry (ring, watch, bracelets and/or earrings). Another common location is the belly where the buckle of a belt gets in contact with the skin. In case of cosmetics it is usually on the scalp, the face, neck and hands.

The most frequently reported symptoms are: redness, swelling, itching, bumps (swollen spots), little blisters, rash, eczema and flaking.

Tips in case of a contact allergy

There are actually not many practical tips that you can use when your child is suffering from a contact allergy. What you can do is avoid the substances causing the symptoms if possible. In addition, you can keep your child’s skin moist to reduce itching as much as possible.