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Nickel allergy is one of the most common allergies. Nickel allergy is found in 17 percent of adults and 8 percent of children. Nickel can be found in food, earrings, cosmetics, and many other products. The only way to avoid the appearance of nickel allergy symptoms is to limit contact with nickel-releasing items in amounts capable of provoking allergic reactions. What products should I eliminate from my diet if I am allergic to nickel? How to treat a nickel allergy?

Nickel allergyis troublesome due to the common occurrence of this element. But how can you avoid contact with nickel? Where possible, choose plastic equivalents of nickel-containing items, and when this is not possible, just paint them with clear varnish at the point of contact with the skin.

An allergic reaction usually only occurs with prolonged skin contact with nickel. So, first of all, you have to watch out for jewelry, watches and buttons that stick to the skin.

Nickel allergy - what you need to know about nickel

Nickel is the fifth most abundant chemical element after iron, oxygen, silicon and magnesium. The role of nickel in human physiology is not entirely clear, but observations indicate that it probably plays an important role in human metabolism. Even though the symptoms of nickel deficiency have not been described so far, it is counted as a trace element in the diet.

Rich in nickel are lentils, oats and nuts, among others. In highly allergic people, dermatitis (eczema) can be triggered by 0.3 mg of nickel orally administered - a dose only several times higher than the daily requirement for nickel, which can occur in a normal diet.

Nickel allergy - risk factors

Not all risk factors are known for nickel allergy, but among the widely accepted risk factors, the most important are female gender and wearing earrings.

Scientists also indicate potential risk factors for the development of nickel allergy, including cigarette smoking.

Regarding the role of atopy in nickel allergy, opinions are extremely divided - some researchers believe that it protects against nickel allergy, and some point to it as a risk factor. So far it has not been possible to provethe participation of genetic factors in the development of contact allergy to nickel.

Nickel allergy - symptoms

Nickel allergy can manifest as:

  • allergic contact dermatitis
  • conjunctivitis
  • rhinitis
  • asthma
  • systemic nickel allergy.

Nickel allergy can also cause rejection of orthopedic and dental implants.

Nickel allergy - research

The medical history is the basis for the diagnosis of nickel allergy. An itchy skin rash in areas with prolonged contact with metal (watches, bracelets, earrings, clips, metal buttons, rivets, etc.) is a typical symptom of a nickel allergy.

To be sure, a patch test is performed. The tested allergens are applied to the skin of the back with the help of special chambers on the hypoallergenic plaster and left for 48 hours.

The skin reaction is assessed immediately after detaching the ventricles and in the following days - after about 72, 96 and even 168 hours after applying the patches.

Nickel allergy - Nickel identification test

Since it is not possible to eliminate nickel from the environment of a person allergic to it, in case of doubt, a test can be performed to identify objects containing a dangerous amount of nickel.

The test with dimethylglyoxime is performed by coating the suspected nickel on the object. In the presence of free nickel ions, dimethylglyoxime forms a red-colored s alt.

The sensitivity of the test is estimated at around 10ppm, while most patients experience symptoms at Ni levels above 11ppm.

Nickel allergy - what is nickel in?

Nickel is not only found in food. It can also appear in everyday items, jewelry, cosmetics, and even pacemakers. Here is an example list of items containing nickel:

  • metal alloys
  • white gold
  • jewelry - earrings, clips, chains, rings, bracelets, watches, imitation jewelry
  • jeans buttons
  • hooks
  • zippers
  • belt buckles
  • coins
  • keys
  • thimbles
  • needles
  • pins
  • scissors
  • pens
  • cutlery
  • pigments
  • lipsticks
  • glasses frames
  • pacemakers
  • dental prostheses
  • plates, nails and orthopedic screws, endoprostheses
  • carpentry fittings
  • typewriter keys
  • soldering smoke
  • detergents
  • machine oils

Nickel allergy - nickel-containing foods

In the case of nickel allergy, products that may contain this element should be limited or completely eliminated from the diet. Here are just some of the foods that contain nickel:

  • drinking water
  • margarine
  • canned food
  • pea
  • onion
  • herring
  • cocoa
  • chocolate
  • acidic metal dish soup
  • soybeans
  • corn
  • cabbage
  • lettuce
  • processed cheese
  • tomato paste and ketchup
  • baking powder
  • peaches
  • bananas
  • cherries
  • pears
  • vegetables and fruit grown near factories.

Nickel allergy - treatment

The only way to avoid the unpleasant effects of this allergy is topical treatment. No comprehensive treatment for nickel allergy has been developed, and you can only deal with the rash in the short term.

Apart from special ointments and creams, it's best to simply avoid all types of nickel-containing products - whether it's food, ornaments, or cosmetics. Products of animal origin, such as meat and its products and dairy products, are lower in nickel.

Read also: Cob alt allergy: symptoms and treatment

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