Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Mobile Phone Dermatitis" - Doctors Warn Over Rash from Excessive Cell Phone Use

It's not as bad as fears over cell phone radiation, but it seems we have a minor "irritant" for cell phone users. The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) said on Thursday that doctors an unexplained rash on people's face, ears or cheeks might be a skin allergy caused by too much cell phone use, holding the phone to those areas.

While the warning just came out today --- it appears, after some research, that a paper was written on this in 2007. The allergy appears to be related to the nickel surface on mobile phones. Some people are extremely nickel-sensitive.

Yet another reason to use Bluetooth or wired headsets, eh?

Earlier this year a team led by Dr. Lionel Bercovitch, Department of Dermatology, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Rhode Island, tested 22 popular handsets from eight different manufacturers and found nickel in 10 of the devices.

The picture above, in fact, is from a case in the Canadian Medical Association Journal from January, involved Dr. Bercovitch. His patient had a rash, switched to a phone without nickel in the device (relieving the issue), and switched back, with a subsequent recurrence.

BAD said:
"It is worth doctors bearing this condition in mind if they see a patient with a rash on the cheek or ear that cannot otherwise be explained. In mobile phone dermatitis, the rash would typically occur on the cheek or ear, depending on where the metal part of the phone comes into contact with the skin.

In theory it could even occur on the fingers if you spend a lot of time texting on metal menu buttons."
Ah, there you go. A Bluetooth headset won't fix a finger rash, but a keyless phone like the LG Dare or iPhone ... now that would.

BAD said many doctors were unaware mobile phones could cause the condition.

It's not the only example of a cultish device causing health problems. There was an earlier Nintendo Wii-related disease I wrote about: "Wii-itis." Sort of a tennis elbow for Wii users.

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