Hold That Call!

Could you be allergic to your phone?  In the second of our series of stories emanating from this year’s American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology allergists warn that “increased use of cell phones with unlimited usage plans has led to more prolonged exposure to nickel.”

According to allergist Luz Fonacier, MD, “Patients come in with dry, itchy patches on their cheeks, jaw lines and ears and have no idea what is causing their allergic reaction.”

Nikel is one of the most common contact allergens, and affects up to 17% of women and 3% of men. Contact with objects containing nickel, such as keys, coins and paper clips are generally brief, so the nickel allergy may not occur on the area of contact. However, the risk is increased by frequent, prolonged exposure to nickel-containing objects, such as cell phones.

Symptoms of nickel allergy include redness, swelling, itching, eczema, blistering, skin lesions and sometimes oozing and scarring. Avoidance of direct skin contact is the best solution and experts suggest that if you have a nickel allergy or are experiencing symptoms that you try using a plastic film cover, a wireless ear piece, or switch to a phone that does not contain metal on surfaces that contact the skin.

Those who suspect they have allergies to cosmetics, tattoos or nickel should be tested by an allergist – a doctor who is an expert in diagnosing and treating allergies and asthma.

To learn more about allergies and asthma, take a free relief self-test or find an allergist near you visit www.AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.