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Br J Sports Med. 2001 Apr;35(2):100-2.

Contact dermatitis in students practicing sports: incidence of rubber sensitisation.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Immunology and Infectious Disease, University of Bari Medical School, Policlinico, Bari, Italy.



Over the last few years, changes in cutaneous homoeostasis resulting from sports activities have been reported. In particular, alterations in sweating mechanisms, the hydrolipid barrier, and surface bacterial flora, together with exposure to atmospheric conditions and the need to use medicaments, detergents, and other topical substances, predispose subjects to allergic contact dermatitis.


To evaluate the incidence of allergic contact dermatitis in a group of young people practising sports activities.


Patch tests were performed to confirm the diagnosis of irritant or allergic dermatitis; in addition, the radioallergoabsorbent test (RAST) to latex was evaluated in the group studied.


Allergic contact dermatitis caused by thiourams (23.3%) and mercaptobenzothiazole (20.9%) was prevalent. Other haptens, such as benzocaine and nickel, which are contained in clothing, equipment, topical medicaments, and creams used for massage, were also allergenic. In two cases, RAST positivity to latex was registered.


-The results suggest that close contact with sports equipment may increase the incidence of allergic contact dermatitis. Students practising certain sports may have "professional" allergic contact dermatitis to additives used in the production of rubber.

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