Identifying A Nickel Allergy
By Grant Segall
While we have all heard of people having a dust mite allergy, dog or cat allergy, peanut allergy, gluten allergy, and so on, very few of us have heard of the people living with a nickel allergy. Even so, the number of people living with a nickel allergy is actually on the rise, partly due to the ever-increasing popularity with body piercing in which nickel is a common metal. In fact, experts estimate that people with a nickel allergy has risen by as much as 40% over the past 10 years, specific to piercing.
With a nickel allergy, the symptoms can strike people of all ages and both genders. While some people will have immediate reaction, most will have a reaction caused by prolonged exposure to the nickel. If you have a nickel allergy and like piercings, then you might consider using stainless steel, gold, or silver instead.
Other people who have a nickel allergy include those working with various chemicals or machinery that involves nickel such as hairdressers, hospital staff, or those working with cleaning chemicals. The problem is that for alloy to be produced, nickel is added to other metals. Therefore, nickel could easily be a component of many things we use throughout our daily lives without us even knowing it. For example, eyeglasses, watches, belt buckles, and even zippers all have nickel. For the person with the nickel allergy, this would be a problem.
Other items commonly made from with degree of nickel include pens, razors, scissors, handles on kitchen or bathroom cabinets, cigarette lighters, catches on purses, toasters, needles, and so on. If you have a bad nickel allergy, you can actually purchase a testing kit that can help you identify the things you handle daily that might be a contributing factor. Although avoiding everything with nickel would be difficult, at least you would know some of the items to avoid.
Just as nickel should be avoided by touch, there is also concern about food consumption. Generally, if someone has a serious nickel allergy, his or her doctor would prescribe a nickel-restricted diet in which foods high in nickel would be eliminated. Some of the foods would include:
Beans, Buckwheat, Chocolate, Dried Fruit, Figs, Lettuce, Licorice, Linseed, Millet, Multigrain Breads, Nuts, Oats, Onions, Peas, Pineapple, Prunes, Raspberries, Salmon, Shellfish, Soy Powder, Spinach, Tea, Tomato, Wheat Bran or Wheat Bran Products"and more.
Generally a person with a nickel allergy will experience skin rash and irritation. This dermatologic effect can be magnified by humidity and sweat. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to desensitize the person living with a nickel allergy using pills, shots, or other forms of treatment. Therefore, the best method of treatment is avoidance. If a rash does develop from the nickel allergy, usually cortisone cream will help.
About The Author
Grant Segall RPh is a practicing pharmacist and webmaster of http://www.allergy-allergy.com.