Allergic to your cell phone?

By • Published: February 3rd, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

You see them at soccer games… in restaurants… in their cars… and even in public bathroom stalls… You may even be looking at one in the mirror right now.

Cell phone attached to ear? Check.

Non-stop yammering? Check, check.

Yep, we are talking about you, excessive cell phone user.

True, you may be the most caught-up friend in your social circle, but all that time spent with your phone may have an unintended consequence: You could become allergic to it.

Doctors are seeing a growing number of patients with “cell phone rash.”

It’s red and bumpy and has nothing to do with how much you talk but how often you keep the cell phone pressed to your face. People with this problem aren’t actually allergic to the cell phone, but what it’s made of.

About half the phones on the market today contain nickel, the same pesky metal often found in cheap earrings.

Repeated contact with goods that contain nickel seems to trigger the allergy. The bad news? Once you’ve got it, you’ll need to avoid anything with nickel in it.

Nickel is used in a slew of products. Nickels, for example, and dimes and other coins. But generally, most people don’t spend as much time touching nickels as they do their cell phones and jewelry.

If you develop a nickel allergy, you’ll notice itchiness or a bumpy rash. Your skin may redden and become dry, or blister.

Luckily, you can keep your phone from turning on you. First, choose one that doesn’t contain nickel. Take a handy nickel testing kit with you when you shop, or just check with the manufacturer.

Another step? Get a case to cover the phone so you won’t be directly touching it. You could also use a hands-free set, or the speakerphone feature.

Or you could talk less. But, let’s be honest, is that really an option?