Nickel allergy

    • Brief

    • You have a nickel allergy if your body develops an itchy rash anytime your skin comes in contact with a usually harmless metal called nickel. Nickel is found in many everyday substances like jewellery, coins, batteries and detergents. Nickel allergy can affect any part of your body that comes in touch with the substance.

      Avoiding contact with the metal is the only remedy as there is no cure. Treatment can manage the rash and improve your symptoms.

    • What are the symptoms?

    • Symptoms often start a few hours after contact with nickel and may include:

      • Itchy rashes.
      • Redness.
      • Dryness of the patch of rash.
      • Blisters filled with fluid when the allergy becomes severe.
      • Headache and tiredness.
      • Vomiting and diarrhoea.
    • What are the causes?

    • The cause of nickel allergy is unknown. Nickel allergy develops when your immune system mistakenly views nickel as a harmful substance.

    • What are the things that put you at risk?

    • Nickel can be found in jewellery, coins, electronic gadgets, wristwatch, zips, belt buckles, bra hooks and detergents, to name but a few items.

      You are at risk of nickel allergy if:

      • You have a relative who has a nickel allergy.
      • Your work involves touching metals, like locksmiths and welders.
      • You have an allergy to other metals.
    • When to visit a doctor?

    • You should see your doctor if:

      • You develop a sudden itchy rash with no apparent cause.
      • After wearing a piece of new jewellery, you start to have a fever or you develop a rash that secretes pus.
    • How to prevent?

    • To prevent this allergy, you should avoid having prolonged exposure to products containing nickel.

    • How to manage and treat?

    • Once you know that you have a nickel allergy, the following self-care tips will help you manage the symptoms:

      • Use over-the-counter steroid creams, antihistamine drugs or calamine lotion to relieve itching.
      • Wear gloves at work if you have to touch nickel or other metals.
      • Find a replacement for your watch strap and zips that are made from materials such as like leather or plastic.
      • Wear nickel-free jewellery. Buy these from shops that can tell you the metal content of the jewellery.
      • Moisturize your skin with creams like vaseline.

      If self-care does not work, your doctor may recommend a course of exposure to ultraviolet light.

    • Kulawa cares

    • Living with nickel allergy may be uncomfortable, especially because there is no cure and nickel is common in everyday products.