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Allergies to metal

Allergies to metal

Metal allergy is one of the most common forms of contact allergy. Rather than a congenital allergy, it is an acquired hypersensitivity to certain metals or to some of their components. Metal allergy makes life particularly unpleasant for people who work in engineering workshops. A second common group of sufferers are people who wear jewellery, including piercings.

The most common metals causing irritation

Nickel : it is estimated that about ten percent of people have nickel sensitivity. Nickel is found in stainless and surgical steel, various alloys, and is added to common jewellery metals including gold.

Chromium is used to protect metal objects from corrosion. It can be found on chrome plated bathroom accessories, faucets, various auto parts and interior accessories.

Copper is added to jewelry metals, used to make copper cookware, and is found in brass, which is often used to make things like doorknobs and coins.

Cobalt is in common use in the dyeing of glass and ceramics in blue shades and also appears in jewellery.

Common metal products that can trouble us

Metal allergy or hypersensitivity occurs mainly at the point of contact of bare skin with buttons on trousers, buckles and clasps on summer sandals or watches, at zippers, under bracelets, rings, earrings and chains, when in contact with keys, coins.

Manifestations of allergy and hypersensitivity

In congenital metal allergy, the human body reacts systemically. In addition to skin manifestations, breathing difficulties, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain may occur. Metal allergy is demonstrable by skin tests and affects only a small group of people.
In contrast, about 40% of people suffer from contact hypersensitivity. In direct contact with the allergen, the site of contact is red, itches badly, may swell and a rash may appear. If the problem is left untreated, blisters may appear or the skin may crack until it bleeds. Irritation can also occur through indirect contact. If there are metal particles in the air, reactions will occur on exposed parts of the body such as the neck and face.

Metal allergy, unlike hypersensitivity, can cause a variety of ailments. For example, the body's reaction to amalgam dental fillings can cause fatigue syndrome, muscle aches and cramps, perceptual disturbances and insomnia. Similar conditions can occur after the implantation of various metal restorations.

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