Itchy This Morning? You Might Be Allergic To Your Couch.

Have you been lying on that couch all weekend? You might end up with a rash.

People in northern Europe have been suffering under the plague of the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano. And if that weren’t enough, their sofas are giving them rashes. Recently dermatologists in Finland and Sweden have been seeing patients with a strange, itchy rash all over their bodies. Like an episode of House, no one could figure it out until doctors put together that everyone with the rash had recently bought a new sofa or couch. Extensive testing revealed that people were allergic to a preservative that was used to prevent mold growth when the furniture was shipped. The preservative, dimethyl fumarate (DMF) was released from the material when it became warm, as when you lie on it watching the Red Sox and the Celtics all weekend.

It does not appear that DMF dermatitis is widespread in the United States, but it has been reported on feet from athletic shoes that were shipped using the same preservative. We dermatologists are now aware and will be vigilant looking for this allergen.

So if you get up from the sofa and discover that you’re itchy, don’t blame the dog. It might not be his fault, this time.

Photo: Spartography (flickr)