Many coins contain nickel – including multiple current US coinage and many European coins including the infamous 1 and 2 EURO pieces which included two different nickel alloys.
If you keep your coins in a pocket, you may have noticed itching or inflamation near the pocket – despite the coins being separated from your body by the fabric. You may also have moderate to severe nickel allergy symptoms on your hands from handling the coins.
So what can you do? With the aim of avoiding touching the coins at all in daily life. For most of us our contact with coins comes when giving exact change or receiving change for purchases.
Buy a small coin purse which allows you to open it and allow a shop-keeper to give you your coin change directly into the purse. This doesn’t come naturally at first and feels awkward but with the right purse and prompting “could you put the coins here please?” as you hold out the open purse to the teller it starts to become easier. You can choose how to deal with the coins – I empty the purse into a “penny, nickel, dime and quarter jar” every couple of days. With this I can either ask another family member to sort the jar and take it to the bank or simply dump the whole jar into a coinstar machine. I never count out change any more so I don’t handle coins before or after my purchases.
In addition to the purse, use plastic (ie cards) more, even for small purchases. If you aren’t eligible for a credit card, ask your bank for a debit card – most banks now offer debit cards on current accounts. By using a credit or debit card for every feasible purchase you are again reducing your need for and contact with coins. I’ve found stores – particularly larger stores are caring less and less about taking cards for small purchases.
If you handle coins in your daily work, an additional solution is called for. You may be able to get an accommodation from your employer – think laterally here – is there another way you can do the job without handling the coins? Or does it make sense to use gloves?