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Are You Allergic to Your Cell Phone?

Talking too much on your cell phone can be dangerous, but in a more subtle way than you might think. There are all kinds of allergies and it turns out that chatting endlessly on your cell phone can lead to an allergic reaction to the nickel in your phone. From cosmetics to jewelry, body piercings to tattoos, allergies can lurk in unlikely places. Allergist Luz Fonacier says, "Increased use of cell phones with unlimited usage plans has led to more prolonged exposure to the nickel in phones. Patients come in with dry, itchy patches on their cheeks, jaw lines and ears and have no idea what is causing their allergic reaction." Nickel is one of the most common contact allergens, and affects up to 17% of women and 3%t 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, even in these brief encounters, nickel can be transferred from fingers to the face and cause eyelid irritation. The risk is increased by frequent, prolonged exposure to nickel-containing objects, such as cell phones, jewelry, watches, and eyeglass frames.

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