Recent reports in medical journals detail nickel allergies from a variety of personal electronic devices, including laptops and mobile phones. But it was an Apple iPad that caused an itchy body rash in an 11-year-old boy recently treated at a San Diego, California hospital, according to a report in American peer-reviewed medical journal Pediatrics.
Nickel rashes aren't life-threatening but they can be very uncomfortable, and they may require treatment with steroids and antibiotics if the skin eruptions become infected, said Dr Sharon Jacob, a dermatologist at Rady Children's Hospital, where the boy was treated.
"He used the iPad daily," she said.
He got better after putting it in a protective case, she said.
Whether all iPad models and other Apple devices contain nickel is uncertain; Apple spokesman Chris Gaither said the company had no comment.
Nickel rashes also have been traced to other common products including some jewellery, eyeglass frames and zippers.
Jacob said evidence suggests nickel allergies are becoming more common, or increasingly recognised. She cited national data showing that about 25 per cent of children who get skin tests for allergies have nickel allergies, versus about 17 per cent a decade ago.
She said doctors need to consider electronic devices as potential sources when patients seek treatment for skin rashes.