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What Are the Symptoms of Nickel Poisoning?

Anna T.
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The most common symptoms of nickel poisoning include nausea, headaches, and vertigo. Other symptoms might include vomiting and trouble sleeping. As the condition worsens, more severe symptoms might begin to manifest, such as chest pains or increased heart rate. Most people develop nickel poisoning through inhalation, and if treatment is not received in a timely manner, it is possible that death could occur. Even though anyone could become poisoned from nickel exposure, people who work in refining plants or mines tend to be much more likely to develop it.

Nickel poisoning symptoms are generally minor at first, and for this reason many people do not immediately seek medical treatment. Nausea, headaches, and several of the other warning signs might be incorrectly interpreted as the onset of the flu or some other temporary virus. People often fail to see their doctors until they begin having chest pains and insomnia. As the poisoning worsens, pneumonia-like symptoms tend to develop as a result of the metal settling inside the lungs. At this point, getting to a doctor as soon as possible is crucial for survival.

When a person with possible nickel poisoning goes to see his doctor, a urine sample will probably be taken first. Urine testing is important when poisoning from any type of metal is suspected because doctors can tell from a sample how much of the metal is inside the body. Patients are almost always given oxygen to aid in breathing, and this is typically followed up with chelation therapy. The purpose of chelation therapy is to help the body rid itself of toxic metallic substances, and it is done by injecting substances into the body that will stick to the metal while also making it less toxic.

Symptoms of the poisoning should subside not long after chelation therapy is complete. Doctors generally advise patients to get lots of rest for a few weeks after the procedure, and antibiotics might additionally be prescribed to help prevent infection, which is more likely to occur due to the weakening of the immune system. People often recover completely after being poisoned by most metals, and seeing a doctor as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms may help to ensure this. It is possible to prevent nickel poisoning by wearing appropriate clothing and face gear to limit contact with the metal, and those with jobs putting them at increased risk of exposure to any heavy metals should be especially mindful of these precautions.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Anna T.
By Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to The Health Board. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By anon999641 — On Feb 16, 2018

Nickel Poisoning: Stainless steel percolator. My warmed over coffee took on a grayish tint and a metallic taste. Symptoms: fatigue, dizziness, numbing fingers and toes, tinnitus, increased urination after ingestion, depression. Stopped using the coffee pot yesterday. Will see if symptoms abate.

By anon994971 — On Mar 21, 2016

Essure birth control is a coil put in women's tubes. They can even migrate. They are made of nickel alloy. Many women are getting very sick. Some have even died or lost children. Bayer is the maker and won't take it off the market. FDA recently refuses to make them.

By anon993928 — On Dec 30, 2015

I believe I was the first child in the United States to receive implants (four to be exact), due to three tumors in my lower mandible found in 1980, and in 1996 I believe is when they were put in.

I was always sick as a child and now I am 29. I am very ill and something is very wrong. I have numerous symptoms, too many to list...including thoughts of nickel toxicity. My heart seems weak and I get winded very easily, among many other symptoms. No one will help me or believe me, even though they know of my symptoms and debilitating condition. Instead of help, I get, "Well, the system is broken due to Obama care." So, how do you have a job if it's so broken? How do people with cancer get help if our health system is broken?

I've had premonitions of my death. Everything is black after 30. I'm going to die. I am sure of this and have been making my peace with God, as I have nowhere else to turn. I am becoming too ill and weak to keep trying to get help, when no one cares to help.

My immune system is shutting down, and I'm allergic to nickel. I was born allergic. I'm a mother of three boys whom I cannot help provide for. This affects their quality of life besides my own, and they may lose their mother. I cannot afford the MELISSA test and no doctor is willing to help me. If anyone has any advice, please reach out. May our Lord bless you all. Take care.

By anon993732 — On Dec 09, 2015

I recently got an E-Cig that uses a Nickel coil to heat the fluid, and I have some of these symptoms. I'll let you know if I die of this.

By anon990796 — On May 10, 2015

Do you have any dental or other types of implants such as spine, hip knee? If not and you are not working in an industry where you are exposed to nickel you should be fine. Those who have a nickel allergy which is between 15 to 25 percent of the US population should check their implants. How to find out if you are allergic to nickel is by a blood test called MELISSA. Even if your implants are stated to be 100 percent titanium, they may still contain some nickel due to the manufacturing process. It is estimated that up to 50 percent of all titanium implants have some nickel in them. Many failed surgeries are mislabeled and are actually metal allergy reactions. This is a hidden secrete that the spinal manufactures do not want the general public to know.

By stoneMason — On Jan 15, 2013

I have a friend who is allergic to nickel and cannot eat anything cooked in stainless steel pots and pans because apparently, they contain some nickel.

I thought that nickel poisoning and nickel allergy is the same but apparently it's not. With nickel allergy, there are typical allergic reactions like swelling, hives, difficulty breathing, etc.

By ysmina — On Jan 15, 2013

@ankara-- It's not that difficult to know because these symptoms will be triggered by nickel exposure.

So if someone who works in a mine notices that he feels sick whenever he's in the mine, if he develops nausea, migraines and difficulty breathing around nickel and feels better after leaving the mine and getting fresh air, it's nickel poisoning.

Poisoning symptoms develop fairly rapidly and will continue to worsen when exposed to that substance. Getting away from the substance will cause the symptoms to lessen and eventually go away. That's the best way to know if the symptoms are linked with nickel.

By bluedolphin — On Jan 14, 2013

Nickel poisoning sounds like a very serious health issue. But the symptoms associated with it can be seen with many other conditions so I think it would be difficult to know that nickel poisoning is the cause.

How can I know whether my nausea and headaches are caused by nickel poisoning and not something else?

Anna T.
Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to The Health Board. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
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