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christador
@christador

Posts: 5
Joined: Sep 05, 2016

Nickel allergy cured

Posted by @christador, Sep 4, 2016

This is kind of strange, but that’s what prompted me to come here in order to post this. I want some kind of record since I am (hopefully and presumably) not the only one affect in this manner.

I have had a nickel allergy all of my life. I first discovered it in my early childhood by wearing blue jeans where the back of the button would leave a rash on my lower stomach. Through the years, I have learned to stay away from nickel and other metals–except that I play guitar. My love for the guitar and my nickel allergy have always been foes. I would practice and play until I would begin to get a rash. Oddly, the rash would change where it occurred almost monthly. Early on, it would appear on my inner thighs. In my mid-teens it would show up on my fingers; in-between…eczema-like. From then on, it mostly would irritate my fingers, but sometimes on my upper-right leg (like at the bottom of my right butt cheek). It has also caused boils on the bottom of my feet, although they seem to contain water and don’t itch a ton. Over the years my conditions seem to slightly get better, but it has always been unpredictable–sometimes after playing for a couple of days a lot, I have not been too bad, and sometimes after playing for 10 minutes, I would really get a rash badly…. I have tried strings made of gold and another type made of stainless steel. The gold strings did indeed minimize the effects of the allergy, but severely degraded the playability and tone–AND the cost was significantly higher making it not feasible to continue to use them on a regular basis. Stainless steel strings were heavy, didn’t sound as good, and still produced symptoms, possibly in part to the materials in the actual guitar (frets, pickups, etc.) and not the strings themselves.

So I was dining with my family and I ordered an Asian dish. I had really crazy spices in it–something I had not tasted before–and for the next three days, I had a rash that pretty much was all over my body (but concentrated in my midsection). That is the last time I remember having a nickel allergy. I usually play guitar for a couple hours a week – 10 minutes here and there, take a couple days off, play for 1/2 hour, don’t play for a day or two… I had a makeshift schedule in my head that until now I hadn’t even thought about. This allowed my to limit my exposure to nickel.

That bring us to today. I bought a new guitar (Paul Reed Smith if you must know lol!) and have been playing it like crazy. I noticed the lack of rash. I noticed the explicit absence of any reaction whatsoever. What’s the deal? I don’t know what to think. I am ecstatic, but at the same time a little reluctant to think it’s totally cured. I have played for a minimum of 45 minutes per day since I first discovered the lack of reaction. So in the last few weeks, I have probably played more than I had played in the last six months or more.

Does anyone have any idea why this would happen all of the sudden? I am cautiously optimistic and am hoping and praying my allergy is finally cured. Thanks in advance for any insight.

REPLY

Thanks for sharing your story here on Connect @christador. It is an interesting turn of events for you, and I’m happy that you are able to do more of what you enjoy! I’m tagging a couple of members @ista and @hothands who also have nickel allergies. They haven’t been on for quite some time but may return to share their experiences.
In the meantime, here’s some information on nickel allergies http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nickel-allergy/basics/definition/con-20027616

Is it possible that there is no nickel in your new guitar?

The main source of the nickel is the guitar strings. I’m using the same nickel wound strings .010 – .046 gauge on my new one. I am also able to play my other guitars–I have lots of them–Fender Strats, Telecasters, Ibanez, Gibson, etc. with no reaction. It is very odd. I’m tempted to tape a nickel to my arm to see if I have a reaction but don’t want to do anything that might change my body’s behavior. I’m wondering if the food I had trained my body to build an immunity to it?

New to this nickel allergy. So much confusion on different sites what to eat and not to eat. What was the Asian food you ate???

@dancer381

New to this nickel allergy. So much confusion on different sites what to eat and not to eat. What was the Asian food you ate???

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I don't think they have it anymore… I can't find it on their website anyway. It is similar to the Crispy Caramel Chicken in the sense that is has the spicy Thai sauce. There was a spice in there that I know was the thing that triggered the allergy but I don't know what it was.

An update to this though: so about 6 months ago it started to return. It's not nearly as bad as it was–I've always been severely allergic–so now I can play guitar in little spurts (1/2 hour – an hour every other day) and I'm not really affected but if I play for extended periods of time it comes back. But right after that outbreak I could play and play for hours without being affected.

EDIT: The restaurant was the Grand Lux in Chicago BTW

Thank you. I will try this. I am amazed at the number of Drs that do not consider nickel allergy. For 7 years I took prescription for shingles. A sharp PA in the Dermatology Dept. finally did a biopsy. Nickel allergy not shingles. Be careful of flu vaccine. It also has nickel in it although the Pharmacist said it did not. After my hands and feet turned red and itched insanely I research the shot on the internet. Germany is way ahead of the US in dealing with this allergy

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@dancer381

Thank you. I will try this. I am amazed at the number of Drs that do not consider nickel allergy. For 7 years I took prescription for shingles. A sharp PA in the Dermatology Dept. finally did a biopsy. Nickel allergy not shingles. Be careful of flu vaccine. It also has nickel in it although the Pharmacist said it did not. After my hands and feet turned red and itched insanely I research the shot on the internet. Germany is way ahead of the US in dealing with this allergy

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@ dancer381 interesting about the flu shot!!! Too late for this year, but will watch next year!!!

My feet and hands would get very red and itch until I could scream, This is exactly what the inner net stated as one of the possible side effects. A year later ever so often I will start to itch in the same areas, just not as bad or as long. Moral of the story Pharmacists are not always accurate. Do Research.

@dancer381 – you probably know that stainless steel leeches nickel. Therefore I had to get rid of all cooking pots/pans and buy new ones, my husband now eats with plastic utensils. Nickel hides in strange places

I am not aware that any true allergic contact allergy can be cured, what happens is that with each new exposure you symptom reaction time is less and less and the symptoms become more severe. Yet I believe in miracles as I lived with adult leukemia for 15 years watching my blood count deteriorate slowly, they call this simmering, then 5 years ago the numbers started reversing without treatment. Even both types of cancerous lymphocytes are now normal, all is normal. Doctor says this is new to him, very rare.

That said, if your symptoms recur and you do or don't have a nickel allergy, or other allergy get the 5 Day Extended Patch Test from a specially licensed dermatologist or allergist. I had the True Test Kit and one other kit also so my back was covered with 78 patches for 5 days. With results I learned the names of preservatives, fragrance, elements in rubber, classes of steroids and adhesives i react to and I must avoid for life. I am not allergic to metal or dyes at this time. If you had a nickel allergy it will show up. I could never have guessed on my own what was causing my rashes. This test gave me my normal productive life back because I carefully control my contacts (harder than one can imagine, but doable). Ah- the blessing of a good night's sleep free from pain and itching.

Yes I just got rid of my pots and pans. I have done so much research on this. What is maddening is when you look up a Nickel Diet it varies greatly by web site. Many of them contradict each other. Thank you for replying. I have friends that do not believe such an allergy exists,( and some Drs.too).

@dancer381

Yes I just got rid of my pots and pans. I have done so much research on this. What is maddening is when you look up a Nickel Diet it varies greatly by web site. Many of them contradict each other. Thank you for replying. I have friends that do not believe such an allergy exists,( and some Drs.too).

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The 5 Day Extended Patch Test is a common test for allergens in the US. If your doctor is a specialist, either allergist or dermatologist and is not aware of this test he/she is from the middle ages and stop going to that doctor, as he/she doesnt have a current education. Perhaps a family practice doctor would be unaware. It is an expensive test, but covered by most insurance plans and my Medicare and Supplement paid 100%. Contact control is the issue and ridding yourself of your pots and pans was necessary and of course internet research about all the hiding places like in jewelry and such will speed up contact removal. It is most common for those of us with Allergic Contact Dermatitis, ACD, which the patch test is for, commonly have multiple contact allergies. If you still have reaction you either are missing hiding places of nickel or you have other allergy's you are unaware of. You should get tested because you may have other allergens, perhaps not as severe as your nickel allergy, but with each repeated contact your symptoms become more severe. Identify these now.

I go back to Dermatologist Oct 16. I will ask about it. Only one I had was for 48 allergens on my back for 48 hrs. It came up nickel and gold

@dancer381

I go back to Dermatologist Oct 16. I will ask about it. Only one I had was for 48 allergens on my back for 48 hrs. It came up nickel and gold

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Could be they specifically tested you on a panel for metals and felt other panels unnecessary. Wow, I didn't even know someone could be allergic to gold! That was not on my patch test, but do know I have no issues with gold. So I guess no jewelry for you! You are so sensitive to metals I wouldn't even trust silver.

@gardeningjunkie

Could be they specifically tested you on a panel for metals and felt other panels unnecessary. Wow, I didn't even know someone could be allergic to gold! That was not on my patch test, but do know I have no issues with gold. So I guess no jewelry for you! You are so sensitive to metals I wouldn't even trust silver.

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For me personally, silver is as bad or worse than nickel. Gold is fine and stainless etc. is OK. Whatever they put around an iPad is OK except for prolonged use. I didn't know this until vacation and between the plane, hotel, etc. my left hand used to hold the iPad, my fingers would get a rash and irritated/red. My wedding ring is hypoallergenic so that is fine. Funny though what triggers it and what doesn't.

@christador

For me personally, silver is as bad or worse than nickel. Gold is fine and stainless etc. is OK. Whatever they put around an iPad is OK except for prolonged use. I didn't know this until vacation and between the plane, hotel, etc. my left hand used to hold the iPad, my fingers would get a rash and irritated/red. My wedding ring is hypoallergenic so that is fine. Funny though what triggers it and what doesn't.

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What were your 5 Day Extended Patch Test results? How many allergens were you tested for?

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