A common body of research shows nickel allergy is among the most common allergies related to the skin. This has been attributed to the fact that nickel is present in almost everything we use or encounter on day to day basis including jewelry, coins, cell phones, zippers, belt buckles, eyeglass frames, laptops and computers, watchbands, chalk, and keys.
More studies have shown that nickel allergy in children is increasing by the day with almost 250, 000 children having being diagnosed with nickel allergy in the last couple of years. A nickel reaction in children happens after a child comes into direct contact with an object that releases a significant amount of nickel. The reaction usually occurs at the direct spot of contact but may spread to the entire body. Free nickel, also known as released nickel, penetrates the skin and is absorbed into the immune system thus causing a reaction.
Symptoms usually present themselves 12-48 hours after a child comes into direct contact with released nickel. The reaction may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Signs of a reaction or allergy in children include:
- Rashes or bumps
- Severe or mild itching
- Dark, dry skin patches that may bear a resemblance to burns
- Blisters that may drain some fluid in very severe cases
In most cases, the rash only appears on the body part that came into direct contact with the nickel-releasing object. If left untreated, the skin becomes darker, cracked, and leathery. The affected area/areas may also get infected.
Signs and symptoms of an infection because of nickel sensitivity may include the following:
- Increased redness
If you have reason to suspect that your child may have developed an infection, take him or her to a doctor immediately. Once your child develops nickel allergy, chances are that he or she will remain allergic to the metal for life. But there are effective ways to ease symptoms and to prevent a reaction from happening.
The best way to avoid a reaction is to help your child to avoid all objects that are likely to cause a reaction. One of the major risk factors, especially in female children, is wearing nickel-releasing earrings. As already mentioned, nickel is a common component in jewelry and most earrings on the market today contain a certain amount of nickel.
Fortunately, not all earrings on the market contain nickel. Reputable companies like Blomdahl USA have produced a broad range of nickel-free earrings and other jewelry that can be worn by children with a history of nickel allergy without causing any negative effects.
Other risk factors of developing a nickel allergy in children include family history and a reaction to other metals. If you or anyone else in your bloodline has a nickel allergy, your child may inherit the reaction. If your child is already allergic to another metal, he or she may develop nickel sensitivity.
In conclusion, the direct cause of nickel sensitivity is still unknown to date, but the best way to handle the condition is to avoid all contaminants and to consult a doctor any time a severe reaction occurs.