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Hi: I am new here. I see there has been some discussion on swollen lips. My son plays the saxaphone and has been playing for two years. He loves the alto sax but seems to be allergic to something and we are not quite sure what. He will play on a Monday in school and then again on Wednesday and by Friday his lips are so swollen and there are sores on them that he cannot play again for a week until it heals. This is a vicious cycle. It happens every week, every time he plays. He was using wooden reeds at first. I thought it was that. We switched to plastic and it still happens so it is not the reed. I was thinking of trying a metal mouth piece but I do not know if it is an allergy or just the pressure of the sax on his lips. They blow up to at least two times the size of his normal lips. He does not want to play again until they heal so he is missing every other week of band. Does anyone have this problem so bad that it really prevents you from playing? I don't have the heart to tell him to try another instrument because he loves the Sax. And even when his lips do heal they always look chapped and there is a red rim around them, almost like he drank some fruit punch. DOes anyone have any suggestions? Thanks for your help. Debbie
 

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Hi,

It doesnt sound like a reed allergy, as you have switched to plastic. It is probably just the abrasive action of the reed on his lower lip. I have had this problem: Two simple solutions:

1) Practice every day for a short time, rather than longer periods two or three times a week. Gradually build up the time so he can play for longer periods. Be strict and start with 10 minutes and build up to an hour.

2) Sand the (wooden) reed with fine sandpaper where it is contact with the lips. This only takes about a minute per reed, and you are looking for a glass smooth finish.... works for me. Try and use this reed for a while (a week or so) rather than swapping reeds, a new reed will agrivate the lip rash.

I still get a bit of a red mark, but I practice an hour a day. It is worth it though....

Use a good chap stick during the day, Carmex is superb and reasonably priced.

I think it is just a simple case of wet reed rubbing on lips. It will get better, please stick at it!

When I first started I practiced for 90 minutes one day, and my lips swelled to twice their normal size.

Your son sounds dedicated, and that is rare thing these days.
 

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...and go to an allergist. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for all the advice. I will have my son try some of these things. We do already go to an allergist. My son has been getting allergy shots for almost a year. He is allergic to everything!!!!!
 
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