While talking with Caroline Moassessi, fellow allergy blogger and founder of Grateful Foodie, she mentioned she has a family member who’s engaged to a wonderful woman with a severe nickel allergy. While talking, Caroline proposed I write about some of the things to consider when hosting someone with a nickel allergy.
First and foremost, your willingness to become more aware of some of the many things that could cause a nickel allergic reaction is very thoughtful. Understand you cannot realistically change everything in your home for visitors with nickel allergies. Unfortunately nickel is found in stainless steel, an affordable metal used in most bathroom fixtures, doorknobs, cupboard hooks, appliances, cooking implements and so much more!
I always recommend not making assumptions. If you have questions about this or that, kindly ask him or her, as they’ll always know what’s best for them. The severity of one’s nickel allergy can vary greatly. For instance not everyone with a nickel allergy experiences allergic symptoms when they eat foods high in nickel. Whereas some individuals like myself have to avoid these foods by eating a low-nickel diet.
Based on my own experience here are 8 things to consider when hosting someone with a nickel allergy:
1. It’s easier to plan meals if you know what can be eaten instead of all of everything that cannot be eaten. I suggest asking both what they can eat and what they cannot eat.
2. Invite them to bring a side dish. When I attend a pot-luck or group gathering I always bring something to share, knowing that whatever I bring could quite possibly be the only thing I can eat at the pot-luck.
3. Since nickel is found in tap water, I’d ask if they can drink tap water. If they cannot, ask which brand of bottled water they prefer to drink? If they cannot drink tap water, be mindful to use bottled water when cooking meals.
4. When preparing meals consider what cookware you use, especially when heating up foods in the stove, on the oven or in the microwave. Try to avoid using stainless steel pots, aluminum pans or tin foil. Instead I recommend cooking using glass, enamel, ceramic, cast iron and parchment paper. In addition, have bamboo or plastic utensils available in case your stainless steel silverware is 18/10 instead of 18/0.
5. Don’t smoke near open windows or near anyone with a nickel allergy. Cigarettes aren’t only bad for everyone’s health, but are especially terrible for those with nickel allergies as they contain large amounts of nickel that’s released when smoked.
6. When hosting someone for an extended stay in your home, wash the sheets and towels using a fragrance free laundry detergent, such as All Free & Clear.
7. Provide plastic hangers to hang clothing in either coat or bedroom closets.
8. If you’re giving someone a temporary key, place a plastic key ring identifier cap on it. Doing so creates a barrier so your guest doesn’t have to touch the metal of the key when they use your spare key.
Thank you for recognizing how challenging living with a nickel food allergy and nickel allergy can be. Surprisingly I’ve met people who’ve outwardly question whether or not my allergy is legitimate.
Again, if you have questions about anything always ask prior, it will put both you and them at ease. They’ll always know what’s best for them and will probably appreciate your consideration. Also check out this honest photo blog post by Jennifer from the Allergista describing A Day in the Life of Nickel Allergy.
If you share this with someone you care about considering hosting you or someone you love with a nickel food allergy or nickel allergy, I’d enjoy hearing how the event or extended stay went in the comments below.