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Diabetes injections and nickel allergy

My 13yo son Sean was diagnosed with Type 1 nine months ago.  We have known for years that he has a severe nickel allergy, and reacts to even the minute amounts of nickel in stainless steel and even some sterling silvers.  He has reacted to jeans snaps, orthodontic wire, watches, and even to a surgical pin placed in a broken finger.

Now he is reacting to the nickel in the stainless steel of his insulin needles, and is developing hives at his injection sites.  I have contacted several syringe manufacturers but have not been able to find any that make a nickel-free needle.   In fact, some needles are actually nickel-coated.

An insulin pump is not an option for us.  Our insurance will not pay for it, plus Sean takes karate 5x/week (not good to get kicked in an insulin pump, right?)

He is already taking Claritin during the day and Benedryl at night, but the hives just get worse.

Does anyone have any ideas that might help us?  We are only nine months into a lifelong disease, and the allergic reacting is worsening.
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi!  Have you looked at the I-Port?


It's a device that inserts a vinyl tube under the skin, rather like an insulin pump insertion site, and then you give shots into that device.  His skin would never come into contact with the nickel, and you can avoid the reaction.
Avatar universal
Furthermore, if you try this and hives continue, then you might want to ask his doctor to look at possible insulin allergies. I have heard from some type 1 folks who get hives at injection sites because of allergies to one brand of insulin (or rather whatever that insulin is suspended in), and when they switch to another similar type of insulin, the hive problems go away. Just a thought. Maybe you should keep this in the back of your mind in case the nickel is not the real problem, but perhaps one of the insulins he takes. Maybe he should try the I-Port first, and if that doesn't help, then perhaps look at trying some different brands of similar insulins.

YOu received some very good advice from JDRF-VOL-RL, in my humble opinion. I wish you and your son the best.
Avatar universal
my mother in law has recently been diagnosed T1 and has life long allergy to nickle, this is causing severe reactions on her injection sites. have scoured the web cannot find any nickle free needles?? any ideas would be gr8 as she ha has lost sight in one eye in very short space of time and we all want her around and healthy for as long as we can x
Avatar universal
There is a  insulin called Afrezza that is inhaled.  It is a bolus or fast acting insulin.  It's wonderful and from the manufacturer Mankind.  Go to their website to find a savings plan.   I had to jump through a few hoops to get an authorization but it was worth it in the end.  My problem isn't the needles it is that when I am on insulin I become very sensitive to some of my sterling that has nickel in it.  So I am self diagnosing here, but I believe I develop a nickel allergy when I am using any type of insulin.  Even the Affrezza, however, I don't have to inject. There is one ring in particular that I have worn for many many years that never bothered me until I started injecting Levamir, Lantus  and Novalog.  I am wondering if anyone else has this issue.  
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