Nickel Allergy?

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Mamaposaune
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Nickel Allergy?

Post by Mamaposaune » Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:24 pm

About a month ago, out of the blue, my lip started to feel dry, chapped, itchy, and sore. The lower lip was worse; it was red between the lip and the gumline and I could see and feel tiny blisters. I've used lipbalm for chapped lips in the past, but that only seemed to make it worse - adding a burning feeling to all of the above. Needless to say, playing the trombone was difficult and uncomfortable.
I started to suspect an allergy to the silver-plated mouthpiece, since I've known others who were. I switched to my gold-plated Wick to see if there was any improvement, but it didn't seem to make much of a difference.
Then I realized that when I ate with silverware, especially a spoon, it got noticeably more sore. So, for the past few days I've been using plastic utensils (except last night, while eating out - I was careful to not let the fork touch my lips and hoped it wasn't too noticeable!)
Anyhow, it is finally starting to heal. I know an allergy to nickel is not uncommon, (from what I've read a true allergy to silver is very rare) so I'm wondering if others on the Chat have had a similar experience, and can share their solutions.
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Matt K
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Re: Nickel Allergy?

Post by Matt K » Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:39 pm

I had an issue with a greenhoe thumbrest a few years back. They are made out of solid nickel, though I didn't know it at the time. Ultimately, I had to cover it with fingernail polish. That obviously won't work very well with silverware! But it's fine for your hands. I use Lexan rims too though I've never noticed a problem with his solver or gold rims but now I don't have to worry about it ever and I find them more comfortable anyway.
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BGuttman
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Re: Nickel Allergy?

Post by BGuttman » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:56 pm

Silver allergies are not unknown.

Try using a plastic mouthpiece or one with good gold plating.
Bruce Guttman
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Re: Nickel Allergy?

Post by whitbey » Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:13 am

Yup. Nickel bad for me.
Discovered that years ago from a stainless steel screw that has nickel in it in my knee that had to be removed.
I used gold plate for years. Now I use silver plate.
Medical stuff has changed to titanium because of the stainless steel / nickel thing.
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Mamaposaune
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Re: Nickel Allergy?

Post by Mamaposaune » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:02 am

Thanks for the responses. I'm still not sure I have this figured out, but my lip is on the mend. One thing that is confusing is that I am not having symptoms on my hand where I hold the horn, (currently a Bach 36B) even though it has some lacquer wear on the handgrip.
And for those that have developed an allergy to silver-plated mouthpieces, did silver or stainless eating utensils cause a reaction also?
I'm going out for lunch and bringing a plastic spoon with me for the soup.
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BGuttman
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Re: Nickel Allergy?

Post by BGuttman » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:20 am

Let's get a few things straight:

Silverware used to be silver plated over steel. We don't use pure silver any more because of cost and because silver bends pretty easily.

Much modern flatware is stainless steel, which contains nickel (especially Type 302). I've also seen flatware that is chrome plated.

Good quality mouthpieces are generally silver plated. I don't know about the cheap Chinese stuff; anything goes there.

Stainless Steel mouthpieces are generally made with one of the nickel containing alloys.

Silver colored braces and flanges are usually nickel.

You could have a greater sensitivity to a metal in your mouth because of the chemistry in your saliva, which can be more corrosive than your sweat.

I stand with my previous suggestion: plastic rim or mouthpiece.
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Mamaposaune
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Re: Nickel Allergy?

Post by Mamaposaune » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:05 am

Thanks, Bruce. That easily explains why I'm having the most severe reaction to "silver"ware (inside my mouth, mixing with saliva). Since I need a minimum of 3 mouthpieces, small shank, large tenor and bass, I will start with the bass and try a lexin rim. I currently have 4 Wick Heritage's for the tenors with gold-plated rims, but have been using a silver-plated Schilke 58 on the bass. Maybe, hopefully, I won't have a reaction to the gold.
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