Nickel is a silver-colored metal discovered naturally in the environment. It is often blended with other metals and used to make various items, including:
- precious jewelry
- cellular phone
- eyeglass frames
- paper clips
- orthodontic braces
- stainless-steel cooking equipment and eating utensils
- clothing fasteners, such as zippers, snap buttons, and belt buckles.
What Is a Nickel Allergy?
Small amounts of nickel are also found in lots of foods, consisting of particular grains, fruits, and veggies.
A nickel allergy is an adverse immune reaction that occurs when someone enters contact with a product containing nickel. Generally, the body immune system protects the body versus damaging substances, such as infections and bacteria, to ward off illnesses. In people with nickel allergies, the body immune system errors nickel as a harmful intruder.
The immune system begins to produce chemicals to combat against the substance, setting off an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction to nickel is one of the most common causes of an itchy skin rash. It can likewise cause other changes in the skin, such as inflammation and blistering.
Nickel allergic reactions are increasing in the United States. The allergy may establish at any age, but it is more typical in women than men. About 16 percent of men and 36 percent of women under the age of 18 have a nickel allergy in the United States. Once it has established, a nickel allergic reaction is not likely to disappear. The only way to treat a nickel allergic reaction is to prevent all products and foods consisting of nickel.
What Are the Symptoms of a Nickel Allergy?
Individuals with a nickel allergic reaction generally begin to develop a skin reaction within 12 to 48 hours after entering contact with a product consisting of nickel. The symptoms of a nickel allergic reaction include:
- skin rash or bumps
- redness or other changes in skin color
- dry spots on the skin that look like a burn
- blisters (in extremely severe cases).
Nickel is likewise among the main causes of a skin rash referred to as allergic contact dermatitis. Someone with a nickel allergic reaction will usually have a localized response following direct exposure to things containing nickel. This means that the allergy just impacts the part of the skin that enters contact with nickel.
Eating foods consisting of percentages of nickel may likewise activate an immune reaction that causes changes in the skin.
Allergic contact dermatitis causes the following symptoms:
- severe itching
- scaly, raw, or thickened skin
- dry, discolored, or rough skin
- warm, tender skin
- fluid-filled blisters.
The rash typically lasts in between two and 4 weeks after exposure.
In uncommon cases, a nickel allergic reaction can likewise result in breathing problems, consisting of:
- runny nose
- nasal inflammation
Individuals with this type of response must take preventive steps instantly.
When to see a doctor
If you have a skin rash and do not know how you got it, talk to your doctor. If you’ve already been detected with nickel allergy and are sure you’re responding to nickel exposure, use the over the counter treatments and natural home remedy your doctor has recommended in the past. However, if these treatments do not help, call your doctor. If you believe the area might have become infected, see your doctor immediately. Signs and symptoms that may indicate an infection include pain, increased inflammation, warmth or pus in the affected area.
What Causes an Allergic Reaction to Nickel?
The immune system is accountable for promoting chemical changes in the body that help fight off damaging intruders, such as infections and bacteria. In people with allergies, the body immune system errors a generally harmless substance as a burglar. The body immune system begins to produce chemicals to ward off the substance. In individuals with a nickel allergy, the immune system is reacting to the object or food containing nickel. The response results in different symptoms, including rashes and itching.
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This adverse reaction may happen after the first exposure to nickel or after repeated and long term exposure. The exact cause of a nickel allergy isn’t understood. However, scientists believe that the level of sensitivity to nickel may be genetic, or inherited from a relative.
Certain elements might increase your risk of developing a nickel allergic reaction, consisting of:
- Working with metal. If you operate in an occupation that continuously exposes you to nickel, your risk of establishing an allergy may be greater than it is for somebody who does not work with the metal. In addition, people who have routine exposure to nickel while doing “wet work”– as a result of either sweat or frequent contact with water– may be more likely to establish nickel allergic reaction. These individuals might include individuals who operate in specific food industries and residential cleaners. Other individuals who might have an increased risk of nickel allergic reaction include metalworkers, retail clerks and hairdressers.
- Being woman. Women and girls are most likely to have a nickel allergic reaction than are men and kids.
- Having a family history of nickel allergy. You might have acquired a tendency to establish a nickel allergic reaction if other people in your family are sensitive to nickel.
- Being allergic to other metals. People who have a sensitivity to palladium, cobalt or chromium may likewise dislike nickel.
How Is a Nickel Allergy Diagnosed?
Your doctor or skin doctor can diagnose a nickel allergic reaction. Call them immediately if you have a skin rash and have no idea what caused it. Your doctor will first ask you about your symptoms, consisting of when they began and what appears to make them worse. Make sure to inform your doctor about any medications, supplements, or new foods and products you’ve tried recently.
A spot test is typically carried out if a nickel allergic reaction is suspected. During the patch test, your doctor will apply a small amount of nickel over a patch. The patch will then be put on your skin. Spot tests are typically extremely safe and should not cause a major allergy. They will just cause a minor response in people who dislike nickel.
Your doctor will observe your skin for about 48 hours after the patch test and look for signs of an allergic reaction. If the skin looks inflamed, then you might dislike nickel. Sometimes, the results aren’t clear and further screening is lookinged for.
How Is a Nickel Allergy Treated?
There’s no remedy for a nickel allergic reaction. Just like other allergies, the best treatment is to avoid the irritant.
Your doctor may recommend among the following medications to assist reduce the skin inflammation caused by a nickel allergic reaction:
- corticosteroid cream
- nonsteroidal cream
- oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone
- oral antihistamine, such as fexofenadine (Allegra) or cetirizine (Zyrtec).
Make certain to follow your doctor’s guidelines carefully when using these medications.
The following home treatments might likewise help:
- calamine lotion
- hydrating body cream
- wet compresses.
Inform your doctor if treatments aren’t assisting or if they’re making symptoms worse. You must likewise contact your doctor immediately if you experience increased soreness, pain, or pus in the affected area. These symptoms might be a sign of infection and will have to be treated with antibiotics.
How Can an Allergic Reaction to Nickel Be Prevented?
While the allergy itself can’t be prevented, the best method to avoid an allergy to nickel is to prevent all objects containing it. Always check with the manufacturer, merchant, or label to find out if a product has nickel prior to you purchase or use it.
Nickel is likewise present in a remarkably a great deal of foods and food, including:
- black tea
- nuts and seeds
- soy milk and chocolate milk
- chocolate and cocoa powders
- certain canned and processed foods, consisting of meat and fish (check labels)
- specific grains, including: oats
whole wheat pasta
multigrain breads and cereals
- particular veggies, including:
all canned vegetables
- specific legumes, consisting of:
soy products, such as tofu
- certain fruits, consisting of:
all canned fruits.
Talk to your doctor about avoiding these foods if you’re allergic to nickel. People with a nickel allergy ought to likewise:
- avoid using stainless steel cooking equipment
- prevent wearing precious jewelry including nickel
- wear clothing with plastic or layered zippers and buttons
- consult an orthodontist about nickel before getting orthodontic braces
- ask an ophthalmologist if spectacles consist of nickel before purchasing them
- inform medical professionals about a nickel allergic reaction prior to having any surgeries.
If you have a nickel allergic reaction and operate in a market where you are regularly exposed to nickel, speak to your employer and your doctor. They can help you figure out a strategy moving on for avoiding nickel and preventing an allergy.