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Contact urticaria

Contact urticaria is a wheal-and-flare (small swellings on the skin surrounded by areas of redness) response occurring rapidly on the application of certain substances to intact skin. It is probably more common than currently recognised. It can arise from different mechanisms:

Type I immunological reaction mechanism

Type I reaction

Currently, the most important cause of occupational immunological contact urticaria is natural rubber latex. Substances capable of causing non-immunological contact urticaria that are seen occupationally include cobalt and platinum salts and balsams.

Persulphates can cause contact urticaria of uncertain cause in hairdressers and chemical workers.

Common work-related causes can be found in causative agents and occupations at risk.

Updated 2010-05-02