If you’ve ever had a skin reaction to jewelry or other metal objects, you may have a metal allergy. While most people with metal allergies don’t experience serious reactions, it’s still important to be tested so you can avoid products that contain the metals you’re allergic to.
Most people who have metal allergies are sensitive to nickel, which is found in many everyday items such as coins, jewelry, zippers, and buttons. Other metals that can cause allergic reactions to include chromium, copper, and cobalt. Metal allergies can develop at any age and may be more common in people who have other allergies.
The most common symptoms of metal allergy are itchiness, redness, and swelling at the site of contact with the metal. In more severe cases, metal allergy can cause hives and blistering around the area.
The first step you need to do for metal allergy testing is to see an allergist or immunologist. These are the doctors who are specially trained to diagnose and treat allergies. An allergist will ask you about your symptoms and when they started. They will also want to know if you have any other medical conditions, such as asthma or eczema. To find out if you are allergic to metal, the allergist may perform a patch test. With this test, the doctor puts small amounts of metal on your skin and covers the area with a patch. The patches are typically placed on the skin on a Monday, left on for 2 days then removed. An initial read by the physician is completed in the office at 48 hrs and 7 days after the initial placement. If you are allergic to the metal, you will develop a rash where the patch was placed.
If these tests show that you are allergic to metal, the allergist will work with you to create a treatment plan. This may involve avoiding contact with the metal that you are allergic to and taking medications to relieve your symptoms.
If you have a metal allergy, it is important to let your doctor know. Aside from jewelry, some medical devices, such as pacemakers and artificial joints, contain metal. Now that you know more about metal allergy testing, what to expect, and how the process works, you can make an informed decision about whether or not this type of testing is right for you. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today at Bernstein Allergy Group. We are here to help you on your journey to better health and well-being.