Originally published on May 18, 2012
Spring Concerts for middle- and high-school bands are increasingly popular during the month of May.
Recently we’ve been hearing that some of these band members are being diagnosed with nickel allergy resulting in a huge impact in their ability to play their metallic instruments that contain nickel.
The students, band teachers, and parents should be aware that while this is a growing problem, professional musicians have long considered allergic contact dermatitis an occupational hazard. Brass, woodwinds, and string instruments may all contain nickel. The pressure, friction, and moisture related to sweat and saliva make nickel allergy symptoms worse. When you add in the warmer temperatures of May and the fact that some of these concerts are held outside, you can have real problems!
Those problems are uncomfortable nickel allergy symptoms such as red rashes, bumps on the skin, moderate to severe itching, swelling, blisters, or crusting skin. These symptoms are generally isolated to the area in contact with nickel.
In addition to the obvious concerns where metal touches a person’s hands and lips, some guitarists are allergic to the nickel found in their guitar strings and violinists find their metal chin rest creates allergy symptoms. Wherever there is nickel, there can be problems.
Diagnosing nickel allergy at an early age may actually be a benefit as there are answers available to help control the symptoms. A visit to a dermatologist or an allergist should be the first line of defense. Once nickel allergy is confirmed, there are remedies for these musicians. Band instruments and other metals should be tested for the presence of nickel. Minute concentrations of nickel can be easily detected by using Nickel Alert™ from NoNickel.com. This product can show a positive nickel result in seconds and is safe to use on any band equipment.
Once the source of the problem has been identified, there are other resolutions. Acoustic guitarists may select from bronze, copper, or nylon strings that should not cause allergic reactions. Plastic mouthpieces are available for woodwind and brass instruments. In some cases, wearing gloves may prevent an allergic reaction.
It seems that nickel allergies remain for life, so learning about this problem now can help these young people forestall future days of discomfort. We at NoNickel.com are nickel allergy experts and want to help people find ways to protect themselves from nickel allergy. We offer current information along with certified nickel free products on our website. If musical instruments are causing problems, it is likely that earrings and belt buckles are doing the same. We have some beautiful nickel free earrings along with nickel free belts and belt buckles for children, teens, and adults. If there are favorite jewelry items that can’t be discarded, we also offer a nickel barrier, Nickel Guard™ that will safely protect skin from nickel contact. We are here to help!