Been absent for a while, so I hope you are all keeping well. Could do with a little advice. Had the mother of all flus back in February, even had to take time off work (I'm never ill!) and around that time my hands started to break out in tiny red blisters all over my palms and fingers. The blisters didn't burst like regular blisters do, the skin just cracked and touching anything and particularly picking became agony.
At first I blamed the flu meds, the flu went but the blisters remained, I went through a process of elimination and quickly discovered if I stopped playing for a few days the problem went away. I realised it has to be a nickel allergy which is commonly known as a type of contact dermatitis, it always starts on my right palm at the thumb, radiates out to my fingers and then to the left. If I stop playing for a week it goes away completely.
As allergies can appear without previous issues I figured it would be worth trying limited regular exposure in the hope of developing an immunity, it doesn't work that way apparently. I was making small gains, but if you can't play for an hour a day or every other day you stop making progress and your technique slides. The other issue is when the allergy symptoms appear, it's unsightly as hell, it looks like something you could only catch from a brothel in Kinshasa and while in winter you can get away with a pair of leather gloves, in the summer you begin to look like a Gestapo officer.
So, now I'm at the point where I need to change my string type, I generally use Ernie Ball Super Slinky gauge 9, are there any non nickel alternatives that feel identical? Does anyone else suffer from this?
Any advice is very much appreciated as neither stopping playing nor switching to acoustic are options for me.