One tiny piece of knowledge can make a huge difference – knowing that you are seriously allergic to a substance, food, pet, etc can transform your life. This is because this knowledge allows you to finally make the choices and trade-offs in your life to get rid of the allergen and control your symptoms – be they itching, pain, blemishes, etc.
Not sure whether you may have a nickel allergy? If you’re not sure whether you have a nickel allergy, I recommend finding a good dermatologist. He/she will be able to test you for nickel allergy and other allergies at the same time.
Patch testing for nickel allergy
The standard nickel allergy (for contact allergy) is a ‘patch test’. A patch test is basically a set of patches which are pressed against your skin and stuck against your skin for 2 days. Each patch includes a form of the allergen (for nickel usually nickel sulphate). If you have a contact allergy to one of the allegens after 2 days the area of skin under that patch will turn red and possibly itch and blister if you have a severe reaction. It’s important not to scratch the test, swim, shower or otherwise get the test wet. If you do the results may well be useless.
Patch testing for multiple allergens – narrowing down your allergy
Ask your dermatologist – he/she will be have access to patch tests and will be able to recommend the route to take. Multiple patch tests are available at different costs and with different sets and numbers of allergens. Typically the first test he/she will use will be a patch test with the most common allergens – nickel usually being one of them. Depending on your symptoms and the results of that first test, your dermatologist may recommend further test to either look for other allergens or narrow down the specific allergen(s) you are having problems with.
Patch tests are often placed on the back or on the arm. Be forewarned – it is very likely to itch! If one of the patches causes a severe reaction this is good because you’ve found something you’re severely allergic to however this one will itch itch itch like CRAZY and you’ll be begging the doctor to rip it off.