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When skin comes in contact with nickel materials like earrings, necklace clasp, watchband etc and it causes rashes it means the person is allergic to nickel. When a person develops nickel allergy then the person will always will be sensitive to nickel and therefore should always avoid contact with it. Beans, nuts, chocolate, oatmeal and dried fruits have nickel and sometimes it can be found in canned foods also. All ages of people can be affected by nickel allergy. A person can become allergic to nickel when the skin is exposed to items of nickel repeatedly for a long time. It is also among one of the causes for contact dermatitis.

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Causes of Nickel Allergy

Some of the causes of nickel allergy are:

  • Genetic: If other family members suffer from nickel allergy then there are chances of inheriting it.
  • Working with metals: Those whose occupation involves exposure to nickel have high risk of developing a nickel allergy.
  • Piercing of ears and other body parts is a common cause for nickel allergy; continuous exposure to nickel usually leads to allergic reactions. As the number of body piercing increases so does the chances of developing allergy.
  • If a person is allergic to other metals like cobalt, chromium then there are chances that he may develop nickel allergy as well.

Symptoms of Nickel Allergy

After the skin is exposed to items of nickel the allergic reaction could start in twelve to forty eight hours after exposure. It may carry on for a period of 2 to 4 weeks. The allergic reaction can be commonly seen where the skin comes in touch with the metal, however it may also be seen on other parts of the body. The symptoms of nickel allergy are as follows:

  • Itchiness
  • Rashes or bumps on the skin
  • Skin may become dry that could look like a burn
  • Change in skin color or may turn reddish
  • Blisters and sometimes fluid may flow in worse cases
  • When the skin is exposed to nickel and the person sweats then it is a very serious symptom.

If symptoms show an infection which includes pus in the infected portion, pain and increase in redness then the person should consult a medical expert immediately.

Nickel Allergy Test

A dermatologist does a simple skin test to find out if you have nickel allergy. To do this, the doctor will make use of a hypoallergenic tape on which he or she will apply little quantities of several assumed allergens to your upper back.  The tape has to stay on the skin of your back for 24 hours without falling off or becoming slack.  48 hours later, the doctor will be able to see if you are allergic to a suspected allergen, one of them being nickel.

Treatment for Nickel Allergy

To treat nickel allergy dermatologist may advice some medicines so as to decrease irritation and better the form of rashes. The dermatologist could recommend medicines such as oral corticosteroid when allergy is very severe or oral antihistamine to get relief from itchiness. The doctor may also advise corticosteroid cream such as betamethasone dipropionate and clobetasol. There are some home remedies like soothing lotions e.g. calamine lotion to control itchiness. Wet compress is another method to dry blisters and reduce itching. It can be made by soaking a clean piece of cloth in the solution of Burow which contains aluminum acetate.

The best way to avoid allergic reactions is to keep away from exposure to articles containing nickel.

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