A Day in the Life of Nickel Allergy

For those of us with severe nickel allergies... going out in public can be rough. We're hit with a thousand obstacles and when you're like me and you react like poison ivy... the world can be a bit scary. 

To demonstrate what a day in the life of nickel allergy is like, I took photos during my commute to work and while I was at work. Every time I came across nickel, I snapped a quick photo. The quickness resulted in some blurry photos (like while taking a photo while going through a revolving door), but you'll get the point. Just think of it as being "in the action" with me. We have to think quickly on our feet every day and that involves thinking about our allergies at the same time!

On this day I woke up early and put on my coat. For whatever reason (don't ask me why, I don't know) we haven't replaced this hook which happens to be 100% brushed nickel. I hang my coats backwards on it so the nickel doesn't touch the inside of the jacket which would then touch my skin.

On this day I woke up early and put on my coat. For whatever reason (don't ask me why, I don't know) we haven't replaced this hook which happens to be 100% brushed nickel. I hang my coats backwards on it so the nickel doesn't touch the inside of the jacket which would then touch my skin.

Then it's time to walk the dog. I haven't been able to find a leash that's nickel free AND has a cotton handle. When my skin continually touches synthetic fabrics, I break out. Since I don't have to touch the nickel parts of his leash and harness, I opted for the cotton leash.

Then it's time to walk the dog. I haven't been able to find a leash that's nickel free AND has a cotton handle. When my skin continually touches synthetic fabrics, I break out. Since I don't have to touch the nickel parts of his leash and harness, I opted for the cotton leash.

When it's time to leave, I have to come into contact with one of my foes: my key chain. Keys are full of nickel and the coating on my keys is starting to wear off. Must be careful! The covers are a big help.

When it's time to leave, I have to come into contact with one of my foes: my key chain. Keys are full of nickel and the coating on my keys is starting to wear off. Must be careful! The covers are a big help.

Then I plop my keys in this cotton American Apparel bag so the keys don't rub all over everything in my purse.

Then I plop my keys in this cotton American Apparel bag so the keys don't rub all over everything in my purse.

I make sure I have my bandanna which will get me through the next round of obstacles...

I make sure I have my bandanna which will get me through the next round of obstacles...

...such as this door handle. Gotta get in the train station somehow!

...such as this door handle. Gotta get in the train station somehow!

And when it's time to get on the train, I have to exit the station as well. More metal!

And when it's time to get on the train, I have to exit the station as well. More metal!

I get on the train and boom - more metal! Even if I tested the metal, they swap the cars out as they need and it's just not worth testing it every single day.

I get on the train and boom - more metal! Even if I tested the metal, they swap the cars out as they need and it's just not worth testing it every single day.

As I sit on the train, my finger itches and I look down at this reaction that popped up recently. See that circular cluster of bumps between my knuckles?  It definitely looks like a typical nickel reaction to me. I put on a little steroid ointment since this one has been persistent and the itch goes away shortly after.

As I sit on the train, my finger itches and I look down at this reaction that popped up recently. See that circular cluster of bumps between my knuckles?  It definitely looks like a typical nickel reaction to me. I put on a little steroid ointment since this one has been persistent and the itch goes away shortly after.

As I leave the station and go through these rotating doors, I make sure to push the glass instead of the metal handle.

As I leave the station and go through these rotating doors, I make sure to push the glass instead of the metal handle.

To get into work, I have to open this door - bandanna to the rescue!

To get into work, I have to open this door - bandanna to the rescue!

In my cubicle, my drawer handles have been swapped out for nickel free versions. I got a note from me doctor about my allergies, so as long as I submit the request through HR, accommodations are made for me :-) It rocks!

In my cubicle, my drawer handles have been swapped out for nickel free versions. I got a note from me doctor about my allergies, so as long as I submit the request through HR, accommodations are made for me :-) It rocks!

On this particular day, one of my co-workers came over and put this on my desk - not realizing he essentially plopped a piece of poison ivy on my desk. Turns out I never gave him any of the vinyl coated paperclips I use, so I gave him a handful which he kindly agreed to use in the future.

On this particular day, one of my co-workers came over and put this on my desk - not realizing he essentially plopped a piece of poison ivy on my desk. Turns out I never gave him any of the vinyl coated paperclips I use, so I gave him a handful which he kindly agreed to use in the future.

Time for a bathroom break! We just moved onto our new floor at work so I have yet to test all of the metal pieces on everything. This type of fixture inside bathroom stalls is typically laden with nickel.

Time for a bathroom break! We just moved onto our new floor at work so I have yet to test all of the metal pieces on everything. This type of fixture inside bathroom stalls is typically laden with nickel.

For lunch, using this microwave = touching more metal. I use my bandanna, my sleeve, or a piece of paper towel to deal with this.

For lunch, using this microwave = touching more metal. I use my bandanna, my sleeve, or a piece of paper towel to deal with this.

This is me using my sleeve to turn the sink on...

This is me using my sleeve to turn the sink on...

And I make sure to watch out for these bad boys on the kitchen cupboards. They look JUST like brushed nickel.

And I make sure to watch out for these bad boys on the kitchen cupboards. They look JUST like brushed nickel.

I used my sleeve to open the refrigerator door...

I used my sleeve to open the refrigerator door...

And as I eat lunch, I use a plastic fork so I don't even have to think about metal. (excuse my stupid camera phone focusing on everything but the fork.

And as I eat lunch, I use a plastic fork so I don't even have to think about metal. (excuse my stupid camera phone focusing on everything but the fork.

After lunch I wash my hands and am mindful of the big load of metal in front of me. I used my bandanna for this one.

After lunch I wash my hands and am mindful of the big load of metal in front of me. I used my bandanna for this one.

As I leave for work, I make sure to avoid this bad boy again...

As I leave for work, I make sure to avoid this bad boy again...

After I make my way through he revolving door you saw in the morning, I am presented with these giant shiny doors...

After I make my way through he revolving door you saw in the morning, I am presented with these giant shiny doors...

And it's cousin...

And it's cousin...

After I get on the train, I head on home and prepare to do it all over again the next day.

As you can see... developing this allergy in 2009 was quite the journey. No longer could I walk carefree... anywhere in public... but just like anything else, I've started to get used to it and I don't think about it much anymore. I get a routine down and glide through it easily every day :-)