Nickel allergy is caused when your body’s immune system recognizes nickel as an intruder and releases substances to fight it off by way of an allergic reaction.
What Are The Ways To Prevent Nickel Allergy?
The nickel allergy itself cannot be prevented. However, it can be avoided by avoiding all objects and things containing nickel. That said, nickel is present in many of the things that you use routinely around your house. You may want to avoid some of these to avoid nickel allergy-
- Nuts and seeds
- Black tea
- Chocolate milk
- Soymilk and other soy products
- Canned and processed foods
- Whole wheat
- Cereals and lentils
- Vegetables like asparagus
- Brussels sprouts
- Canned vegetables and fruits
Also, if you have a nickel allergy, you should-
- Not use stainless steel utensils or equipment for cooking
- Not wear jewelry that uses nickel or gets body piercing done for the same reason
- Should not wear such clothing that has plastic-coated buttons or zippers
- Check with your dentist before you get braces or implants
- Also, tell your ophthalmologist about your allergy if you are going to buy glasses or sunglasses
- Inform your doctors about nickel allergy before going for any tests, procedures or surgeries(1)
In case you work at a place where you are constantly exposed to nickel, it might be useful to talk with your employer and your doctor about the same.(1)
Does Nickel Allergy Reoccur?
- Once nickel allergy is diagnosed, it will recur every time you encounter things or products containing nickel.
- The pin-point cause of nickel allergy is yet not known.
- However, as is the case with other allergies, nickel allergy arises when your own immune system sees nickel as a harmful intruder and releases chemicals to fend it off.
- Usually, the immune system only responds to protect your body from viruses, bacteria, and other harmful substances.
- Once this sensitivity towards nickel is developed, your immune system will always remember it and the same allergic reaction will be produced every time your body comes into contact with nickel, or any other allergen for that matter.
- The immune system may develop sensitivity to nickel after a first-time exposure or repeated exposure. It may also be partly inherited.(2)
Having said that, there are a surprising number of sources in our day to day life that contain nickel at least in small amounts. Some of the sources are-
- Imitation jewelry or jewelry used for body piercing
- Belt buckles
- Zippers, snaps, hooks, and buttons
- Frames of eyeglasses or sunglasses
- Many medical devices and equipment
- Computer tablets and laptops
Risk Factors For Developing Nickel Allergy
Some factors may elevate your risk for developing a nickel allergy. These factors may include-
- Going for body piercings using jewelry containing nickel, as nickel is most commonly used in making,
- Working in an occupation involving the use of metals may put you at an increased risk for developing nickel allergy than someone who does not work in such an occupation
- Your gender may be the factor. Females may be more at risk of getting nickel allergy. One reason to justify this may be that women tend to wear more jewelry and go for more body piercings
- Inheritance might play a role. If other people in your immediate family have a nickel allergy, you may be at an increased risk of developing it.
- Allergy to other metals may also increase your risk of getting an allergy to nickel.(2)
Nickel allergy itself cannot be stopped from occurring. However, with the use of certain strategies, the allergy can be avoided. Once you are diagnosed with nickel allergy, it will stay with you always and will recur whenever you get exposed to a nickel again.