Nickel allergy is quite common and about 9.9% of the population is believed to be sensitized to nickel. Some of you might be already allergic to nickel and some you might not know its nickel allergy even though you have a rash. Nickel allergy is seen commonly in younger people but it can occur in any age group and it’s commonly seen in females than in males. Nickel is one of the commonest metals found in many days to day objects but nickel allergy does not develop in the general population, it’s seen more in people who are exposed to nickel long-term. Thus, this suggests that the body might develop an allergic reaction when exposed to nickel for prolong periods.
How Do You Know If You Have A Nickel Allergy?
Your doctor can most of the time diagnose nickel allergy by looking at your rash and by history. Most cases are quite straightforward and do not require any additional tests to confirm the diagnosis. However, in doubt or if you want a proper diagnosis before the initiation of treatment a patch test can be done. Patch testing involves placing very small amounts of various common allergens onto your back using hypoallergenic tape. This procedure is quite safe as only small amounts of allergens are placed it does not cause a widespread allergic reaction but it’s enough to irritate and inflame the underlying skin. So, after 48 hours after application, each patch tests to see for any positive reaction. If your allergic to nickel then the skin under and around the nickel patch will be inflamed. By this patch test, you can find out exactly what your allergic for and one person can have several allergies. (1)
What Does A Nickel Allergy Rash Look Like?
The common symptoms are an itchy rash (these are called hives which are itch wet bumps seen on the skin) which is red and appears dry and crusty. The severity of the itchiness increases with time and in severe cases, blisters and fluid draining can be seen too. Additionally, burning and stinging sensations can also be present. The rash and itchiness worsen with time and for some people the itchiness becomes unbearable.
The rash appears in areas with direct contact with nickel and usually, it takes few days, or weeks to develop (brief, prolong or chronic exposure) the symptoms after the exposure and the rash can remain for about 2-4 weeks. It’s quite similar to usually allergic rashes that occur, the only difference is this is a contact dermatitis therefore, it occurs in areas that have direct contact with nickel. So, if you’re wearing necklaces, earing or any other body piercings the rash can appear in these areas. But sometimes the adjacent skin areas can also develop the rash. (2)
Nickel allergy rash is an itchy rash that is red and appears dry and crusty. The severity of the itchiness increases with time and in severe cases, blisters and fluid draining can be seen too. Additionally, burning and stinging sensations can also be present. It usually appears in areas of contact with nickel and the rash can last for about 2-4 weeks. A patch test is an important test to diagnose nickel allergy or any other allergy. It involves placement of very small amounts of common allergens including nickel in the back using hypoallergenic tape. After 48 hours the patches are checked to see if there are any inflammation or irritation of the skin around each patch. If it’s present that means it’s a positive reaction and that person is allergic to it.
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