We're Actually Allergic to Technology

Or at least the nickel in iPads and other gadgets

Keep that face away from the tablet. An increasing number of kids getting tested for allergies have reactions to nickel, which is a component in lots of gadgets. (Marcus Kwan/Flickr)
Photo: Marcus Kwan/Flickr

Increasing numbers of people, especially young ones, are finding that their bodies are rejecting technology. To be specific, they're having allergic reactions to a material found in many of our gadgets—nickel. A recent study on this allergy, published in Pediatrics, coincided with an 11-year-old boy's trip to the hospital after daily iPad use had him breaking out in a very uncomfortable rash.

Don't panic right away. It's unclear whether all Apple products actually contain nickel (though the company hasn't yet commented on this issue), but nickel can be found in a range of electronic devices such as laptops and cellphones. That's unfortunate, because it's one of the most common allergies out there. Dr. Sharon Jacob, a dermatologist at the hospital that treated the 11-year-old, told the Huffington Post that about a quarter of kids tested have a nickel allergy. If you have this allergy, prolonged exposure to nickel-containing gadgets ups your risk of breaking out. How's that for an excuse to unplug as much as possible?

The Mayo Clinic recommends calamine lotion, wet compresses, or antihistamines, among other solutions, if you're suffering from the technology rash. The 11-year-old boy's long-term solution is groan inducing in its simplicity: Use a case. If you have a nickel allergy but can't give up your wired lifestyle, try these apocalypse-proof (and apparently rash-preventing) picks.

More Adventure