Contact dermatitis

Patch test reactions in children, adults and the elderly. A comparative study in patients with suspected allergic contact dermatitis.

PMID 8807222


The age- and sex-related distribution of positive patch test reactions was investigated in 234 children (0-7 years, n = 72 and 8-14 years, n = 162), 1200 adults (20 to 50 years) and 295 elderly patients (> or = 70 years) with suspected allergic contact dermatitis using a European standard series. In girls from 0 to 7 years, the most frequent contact allergens were thimerosal (37.5%) and nickel (27.5%), in girls from 8 to 14 years, nickel (28.7%) and thimerosal (26.6%), in women, thimerosal (25.3%) and nickel (25.2%), and in elderly women, nickel (12.6%) and balsam of Peru (9.7%). The most frequent contact allergens in boys from 0 to 7 years were ethylmercuric chloride (28.1%) and thimerosal (25.0%), in boys from 8 to 14 years, thimerosal (30.9%) and ethylmercuric chloride (14.7%), in men, thimerosal (21.1%) and ethylmercuric chloride (13.7%) and in elderly men, nickel (11.2%) and balsam of Peru (6.7%). Females showed more positive reactions than males. Whilst 0 to 7 year-old girls and boys showed relatively more frequent reactions, the elderly of both sexes were clearly less affected. Nickel is the most frequent contact allergen in females of 8 years and more. In men, thimerosal is most frequent and reactions to balsam of Peru show a peak incidence in the elderly. Results indicate that patch testing should be considered in children and elderly patients with appropriate indications.