METHODS: Data from patients 18 years or younger who presented for patch testing from June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016 were analyzed. Patch testing was performed with 40 substances in Allergy and Immunology Division of Hospital do Servidor Público Estadual de São Paulo. A positive reaction was defined as any allergen for which the patient had a 1+ or greater reaction at 96-hour reading. Patients were divided into 3 groups according to age (group 1: 0-5 years old; group 2: 6-11 years old; group 3: 12-18 years old).
RESULTS: A total of 117 patients with a mean age of 13.5 years were evaluated. Positive results were found in 43% of patients with no gender difference, but it was significantly higher in adolescents. The 2 most frequent allergens were nickel sulfate (60% of the total - 63% in girls and 50% in boys) and thimerosal (20%). Analyzing association between age and allergen sensitivity, turpentine was more common in group 1, whereas nickel sulfate was predominant in groups 2 and 3. Most patients with positive results had atopy, and atopic dermatitis (AD) was found in 34% of these.
CONCLUSIONS: These results reveal a high rate of allergic contact dermatitis in children and adolescents, possibly associated with early exposure to metals (jewelry, piercings and clothes), enamels and cosmetics, as well as thimerosal, still used as an antiseptic and preservative of medicines and vaccines.