What Happens to Untreated Nickel Allergy & When To Go To Doctor?

Nickel allergy is one of the commonest contact allergic dermatitis that can occur. Most jewelry, fasteners in clothing, cellphones, and glass frames have nickel. Prolong exposure to items with nickel gives rise to nickel allergy in some people. The first exposure per se would not give rise to the allergy, it occurs over time. The person becomes sensitized to nickel which leads to a nickel allergic reaction with time.

What Happens To Untreated Nickel Allergy?

What Happens To Untreated Nickel Allergy?

Nickel allergic reaction occurs after exposure to nickel for hours or days usually after 12-48 hours. The allergic reaction usually doesn’t occur after a few hours of exposure, it might take even weeks and sometimes the reaction might be very small and you will not notice anything for weeks until the symptoms manifest. The reaction will be present for 2 to 4 weeks. It usually occurs in the places of the body where the skin had contact with nickel but sometimes other skin areas can also get the allergic reaction.

The common symptoms are an itchy rash (these are called hives which are itch wet bumps seen on the skin) which is red in color 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. If not treated at that time the skin becomes darker, crack, flake, scaly and thicken and you might feel it as leather. Severe itchiness can damage the skin and this gives a portal for the bacteria and other organisms to enter the skin and this can give rise to skin infections. If a skin infection develops there will be a pain, the redness increase, the skin area affected will be warm and pus can be drain from the site of reaction. The allergic reaction can even spread to other parts of the body if you leave it untreated. (1) (3)

When To Go To A Doctor For Nickel Allergy?

If you get a rash and if it’s starting to increase with time and itchy then you should immediately go meet a doctor and show it to the doctor. There are so many reasons for you to get a rash and nickel allergy is one of them. Most of the rashes occur due to some allergen and it’s important to identify it at the early stages. If you have a history of nickel allergy then this rash can also be due to nickel allergy but you should show a doctor and get the diagnosis confirmed. In the meantime remove any pieces of jewelry and other accessories around the reaction area and avoid further exposure to nickel. If you keep it there without doing anything thinking it will go away in a couple of days an infection can also develop and this can further complicate the situation. If a rash is present and it doesn’t go away in a few hours then it’s best you go meet a doctor. If the doctor is unsure about the diagnosis, he will order a patch test to confirm the diagnosis and you will be prescribed medication if it’s a nickel allergy. (2)

Conclusion

Nickel allergic reaction occurs after exposure to nickel for hours or days usually after 12-48 hours. The reaction will be present for 2 to 4 weeks. The common symptoms are itchy rash – hives which are red in color and the skin adjacent can also appear red. Dry skin patches can be present in the skin resembling burn patches. If not treated at that time the skin becomes darker, crack, flake, scaly and thicken and you might feel it as leather. Severe itchiness can give rise to skin infections. If you get a rash and if it’s starting to increase with time and itchy then you should immediately go meet a doctor to diagnose the condition and to get treatment.

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