Unexplained Rash? It might be an aluminum allergy.

Vaccination with an aluminum-containing vaccine can cause aluminum allergies. If two aluminum-containing vaccines are given at once, the risk is doubled. When exposed to aluminum in the environment, such as in food, deodorants, and medications, then allergic reactions can occur.

This newly published paper describes testing for vaccine-induced aluminum allergies.

Bergfors, E, Inerot, A, Falk, L, Nyström, U, Trollfors, B. Patch testing children with aluminium chloride hexahydrate in petrolatum: A review and a recommendation. Contact Dermatitis. 2019; 81: 81– 88. https://doi.org/10.1111/cod.13303

“Contact allergy to aluminium was considered to be extremely rare until the 1990s, when an unexpectedly high number of cases (n = 377) was reported following vaccination with an aluminium‐adsorbed acellular pertussis vaccine in clinical trials in the greater Gothenburg area in Sweden. All vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP), hepatitis A and B, human papilloma virus and tick‐borne encephalitis, as well as some conjugated vaccines against pneumococcal and meningococcal infections, are adsorbed to aluminium salts (mostly hydroxide and phosphate) as adjuvants. Most allergen extracts used for allergen‐specific immunotherapy (“hyposensitization”) also contain aluminium adjuvants.

Another side‐effect of aluminium‐adsorbed vaccines and allergen extracts that is associated with aluminium allergy is the formation of long‐lasting, intensely itching subcutaneous nodules (granulomas) at the injection site. The nodules appear remarkably late, that is, weeks or months, after vaccination. Pruritus may last for years and be very annoying for both child and family. Exacerbation of the symptoms with swelling of the nodules and intensified itching is seen in about 40% of the children when they have common colds or other ongoing infections. Local hypertrichosis, hyperpigmentation and eczema are common. Vaccination granulomas have been mistaken for tumours. Histopathological examination shows granuloma formations surrounding aluminium crystals. The incidence of itching granulomas after routine vaccination with DTP at 3, 5 and 12 months was 0.63%, as calculated in a prospective study performed in eastern Sweden. If a second aluminium‐adsorbed (pneumococcal) vaccine was given concomitantly, the incidence was almost doubled (1.18%).”

 

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