A nickel allergy occurs when the immune system responds inappropriately to the metal nickel. This type of contact dermatitis is a very common and causes the skin to get inflamed by contact with some type of allergy creating substance. While having an allergy to Nickel is not inherited, it is usually caused by a close and lengthy exposure of a persons skin to items that contains nickel.
Anyone can become allergic to nickel at virtually any age. It is thought that the reason for rising rates of nickel allergies is from the growing popularity of body piercing.
Within 12 to 48 hours of exposing skin to nickel symptoms of the allergy will appear that could last for two or three weeks. The first sign of a nickel allergy is when the skin becomes red and itchy which is sometimes called “jewelry dermatitis”. Soon after the irritation, tiny blisters that are filled with fluid can appear that can drain and moisten the skin and even cause the skin to peel. The rash will eventually dry if the allergy is still irritated. Then the skin turns dry and cracked looking similar to a burn.
Although the rashes and bumps generally begin at the point of nickel contact but can also show up on different parts of the body. Common areas of rash eruption are the hands, around the wrists, on ear lobes, or the lower stomach. Traces of the nickel on fingertips can also be moved to eyelids, on the nose, or anywhere a person might touch.
Understanding nickel allergy symptoms & treatment is an important part of dealing with the rashes. Start treatment by carefully washing the entire area to remove all residue that could still be on the skin. Use diluted vinegar on compresses to dry the blisters.
Cool compresses can be placed over the affected areas to help alleviate the itching, puffiness and redness. Using antihistamines can also be used to reduce the allergy symptoms including the inflammation. Many non-prescription over the counter antihistamines contain loatadine, chlorpheniramine or diphenhydramine. Medications that are prescribed will contain cetirizine, desloratadine and fexofenadine to name a few common ingrediants. Emollient creams are known to help with the dry skin and itch.
Other products available over the counter that could help in managing the allergy is aloe vera, Quercitin or vitamin E. This type of product will also help in healing and softening the irritated skin. Also advised is the use of topical steroids. In cases of severe reaction, systemic steroids could also be given to reduce the inflammation. To avoid or treat secondary infections, antibiotic creams or something like penicillin antibiotics could also be suggested.
Even though there are no proven cures for nickel allergies the above suggestions can provide some relief for the different symptoms and possible secondary problems that are related. Knowing about nickel allergy symptoms & treatment options can help but there is still no permanent cure. Even techniques that try to desensitize by giving allergy shots won’t stop the allergy so avoiding nickel is probably the best action to take.