Background: An updated understanding of allergic contact dermatitis is needed, particularly in children. Objectives: To compare positive and clinically relevant reactions in children versus adults referred for patch testing. Methods: Retrospective analysis of 1871 children and 41,699 adults from the North American Contact Dermatitis Group (NACDG) from 2001-2018. Results: Both final diagnosis of allergic contact dermatitis (55.2% versus 57.3%; chi square, P = .0716) and prevalence of ≥ 1 currently relevant reaction to a NACDG screening allergen (49.2% vs 52.2%; P = .1178) were similar between children and adults. Currently in children, the most common relevant allergens were nickel sulfate (17.3%), hydroperoxides of linalool (7.8%), methylisothiazolinone (7.7%), cobalt chloride (7.0%), and fragrance mix I (4.9%). Approximately a fifth of children had a positive reaction to a non-NACDG allergen. Conclusion: Over half of children referred for patch testing were diagnosed with allergic contact dermatitis. The most common relevant allergens in children were nickel sulfate, cobalt chloride, and hydroperoxides of linalool. Twenty percent of children had at least 1 positive reaction to allergens/substances not on the NACDG screening series, underscoring the need for comprehensive testing.
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