Avoiding nickel is soooo far from being fun. In fact, it's downright aggravating because it's used in SO many places. I react to nickel like a normal person reacts to poison ivy. I've been told to stay faaaar away from it. Actually, one of my keys touched my finger for half a second the other day (right before I got in my car, so I couldn't wash my hands right that minute and of course I forgot once I got to work) and the first red bump popped up that day. Since I wasn't putting steroid ointment on it, it's just gotten worse. I finally succumbed and put the ointment on today.
Nickel makes metals harder and prevents them from rusting. It's used anywhere a small metal piece needs to be used - like on the zipper on your pants or the chain on a drain stopper or even parts of your umbrella. So, here are some ways to avoid it! Everyone seems to go for "10 things" in this sort of list, but I went for 13 because that's my lucky number ;-)
- Copy all your house keys and any key you possibly can and choose the new kind of keys that are coated with a design all over the entire key. Also, put plastic key covers over the tops of all your keys
- To avoid metal doorknobs and handles, keep a bandana (I cut mine in half) in your pocket or purse. My bandana is a different color on each side, so only one side will ever touch my skin. I also use it to start my car.
- Use your sleeve or the bottom of your shirt if you forget your bandana. This is good for doors. Probably not for starting the car.
- Keep a cotton glove in your car for pumping gas. Sometimes the gas pump handles have metal on them
- Put masking tape over the metal part below the eraser on pencils - or paint it with nail polish.
- Keep a set of plastic silverware in your purse for eating out or eating at other people’s homes. A lot of stainless steel has nickel in it due to the use of alloys
- Buy vinyl-coated paperclips
- Only wear sterling silver or platinum jewelry. A lot of gold has nickel because gold is soft and the nickel makes it harder
- Use a nickel testing kit to test the items in your home and at work
- For clothing: Use iron-on patches for the button on your pants (the metal part that hits your skin on the inside of the pants). I bought some at my grocery store. Also check for any other metal parts on the inside of the pants or skirt. You can also paint the part with clear nail polish. I like the nail polish better because the wax on the iron-on patched patches dried up and they fell off. They’re also not made of cotton, so I can’t use them anyways. Paint any metal zipper pulls with clear nail polish too!
- Avoid change (coins) when making purchases. This one can be tricky. A lot of the time, I’ll have the cashier plop the change in my change purse for me.
- Tell your dentist! Some of the stainless steel used in dental work has nickel in it. My doctor told me to have my dentist call if they’re ever going to do work that involves metal (like braces, etc) because he said the dentists don’t always know there is nickel in the steel.
- Avoid touching your face or other parts of your body – the allergen DOES transfer! And wash your hands often.
I think the hardest thing to avoid is keys. They can so easily touch your fingers when rifling through your purse or when you're switching the key you're holding onto. I was able to change all of my house keys to the coated kind, but they can't switch my car keys :-( You have NO idea how badly I want a push-button car. I think about it every time I get in my car. One day.... :-)