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What is nickel?
Nickel is a silver-coloured metal found naturally in the environment which can trigger allergic contact dermatitis in about 10 – 20% of the worldwide population. It is often mixed with other metals and used to make various items, including jewellery, coins, keys, cell phones and glasses frames. Small amounts of nickel are also found in many foods, including certain grains, fruits, and vegetables.
What are the symptoms of nickel allergy?
A skin reaction usually develops within 12 to 48 hours after coming into contact with an item containing nickel and lasts for 2 to 4 weeks. Symptoms of a nickel allergy include:
Eating foods containing small amounts of nickel may also trigger an immune response that causes a skin reaction.
Some patients need to go on a low nickel diet. However, this regimen is difficult to follow not only because it affects the patient’s quality of life, but also because many nickel-containing foods also contain essential elements and vitamins that are important for human health.
Nickel immunotherapy consists of increasing dosages of nickel sulphate in capsules. Combined with a nickel-free diet, nickel immunotherapy has been successfully confirmed in many clinical trials and adopted in real-life conditions.