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Doctors: More & More People Suffering From Technology Allergies

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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – North Texas parents have yet another reason to limit the time that little ones spend with tech gadgets in their hands — devices containing nickel are being blamed for itchy, uncomfortable rashes, and not necessarily on users’ hands.

“It could occur at any location,” explained Steven Cole, DO, a Baylor allergist, “but, the hands tend to be less sensitive to that, so usually it’s where you touch:  your face, around the eyes, the lips, the necks, that’s more sensitive skin.”

According to Dr. Cole, nickel shows up in everything from cellphones to costume jewelry.

Medical assistant Kimberly Herrera says she learned that information the hard way. “It started by just wearing ring and earrings,” she recalled, “and it started irritating my ears and my fingers as well.  I would break out in hives and get pus on my fingers and it would itch for weeks.”

According to health experts, allergies — whether food based or environmental — are becoming more common.

Dr. Cole said, “It’s not just people that are sneezing from things in the air—whether it’s ragweed, or oak, or your cat—it could be your iPad, or your Tablet or your laptop that has nickel in it.”

While the rashes are unsightly and uncomfortable, experts say they’re not dangerous and are typically treated with steroids.  The best bet, however,  is to avoid the nickel as much as possible — and that means keeping the tablet in a case.

In the Melissa Smith household, parents prefer to keep the tablet away from the kids altogether. “I have to,” the mother of two said. “Because they would watch it, and play with it all day long if I let them. So, that’s why we’re at the park!”

The Smith children, 11 and 6, gather with a cadre of cousins nearly every day for outdoor play dates that their Moms say are absolutely summer essentials. Tablet time is limited to less than an hour each day.

“I just want the kids to be able to engage with other people, to go outside and have fun and not be stuck watching TV all the time.”

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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