Metals can cause an allergic response, often through contact with the skin. The most common metals that people are allergic to include nickel, gold, and cobalt. The first two are frequently found in various types of jewelry, while the latter is found in various types of clothing closures (zippers, buttons, etc.) as well as dental amalgams used for filling cavities in teeth. In most cases, allergic reactions to metals are limited to contact and will go away in a short period of time with no contact.
Metallosis is an immune system response to metal particle buildup in the body due to the abrasion of metallic joint replacement implants. Although technically not an allergic response, metallosis can allergy-like symptoms such as swelling, inflammation, and severe systemic problems such as infection and gastrointestinal issues.
These following guidelines can help prevent allergic reactions to metals.
- 1 Wear non-metallic jewelry or jewelry made of metals less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
- 2 Contact a doctor if you continue to have an allergic reaction due to metal contact or ingestion.
- 3 If undergoing joint replacement surgery, avoid metal-on-metal joint devices, and discuss the possibility of metallosis with your doctor.
- Know which metals commonly cause allergic reactions.
- Understand the signs of metallosis if you have joint replacement surgery.