Sharing stories, knowledge, and rants about living with metal allergies.

I Hate Nickel


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Entries in Eczema (1)



In addition to the internal issues and pain that the nickel allergy caused me, it also brought with it eczema and itchiness. 

At first I thought it was an unrelated issue, but once I had the patch test done to determine I was allergic to nickel, I and my dermatologist recognized that the spots on my arms and legs were most likely also a reaction to nickel from somewhere.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to pin down the source that is causing this reaction.  The most horrid of my symptoms cleared up once the braces came off, but not the eczema.  So, either the two aren’t related (which seems unlikely, since I was tested for dozens of other allergies and they all came up clear), or something is still contributing to this one symptom – there’s still nickel out there somewhere irritating me.  I am now on a mission to find it.

Two weeks ago, after coming home from a Padres game, I was attacked by a serious bout of itchiness.  It was so bad, I felt like I had rolled around naked in fresh cut grass!  The following two days were insufferable.  I itched all over, and it was a full time job to keep myself from scratching.  Everywhere it felt like little tiny bugs biting me, making me scratch, and making me squirm!  It took about a week for the itchiness to subside.  It’s taken a full two weeks to completely go away.    

This is how it flares up periodically, and I don’t know why.  Is it nickel?  Is it in the water, my soap, my jacket, something I touched at the ballgame?  I've never had an allergic reaction except to nickel (and I guess fresh cut grass, but I generally avoid rolling around in that), so I still assume it's a nickel reaction, but from where??  There is nothing unusual touching my skin – I have no metal jewelry and no metal on my clothes in those spots.  So I experimented with different soaps, even going so far as to make my own laundry detergent, and that’s had little effect.  Some soaps make it worse, but not using those soaps doesn’t make it better…  What is causing these flares of extreme itchiness??

My current suspicion is that it may be the nickel in my food.  When I was diagnosed with the nickel allergy, my doctor mentioned in passing that some people benefit from a low-nickel diet, but I never followed up on that idea (at the time I was just so happy to be free of the braces!).  Apparently, almost all plants contain nickel.  Nickel is a natural mineral found in soil and water, and it’s absorbed by plants as they grow.  This fact is of little importance to most people or animals, but to those of us with a nickel allergy it can mean that if we eat foods that are high in nickel, we can get sick from it!  With these flare-ups of eczema, I’m finally wondering, is it what I’m eating that is making me itch?

One of the reasons I started this blog is because there is very little information out there about the many different issues nickel allergy sufferers may face.  What’s a girl to do, when she’s itchy and scratchy and miserable and covered in eczema-like spots and doesn’t know why?  She starts another journal, she starts a blog, she starts doing research, and she searches high and low for a solution.  I live in Southern California - this is not a place where you can just cover up with long shirts and pants and hide!  In addition to sharing my story, look forward to coming posts about known facts and research done in the area of nickel allergies.  I also hope to do some of my own experiments to put my food suspicions to the test.  I’ll keep you posted on the results!