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Discussion Starter #1
Hie all.///

I realised that whenever I practise for more than 1 and a half hour, I wil get lots of sputum at the end of the practice session...

Does anyone here experience this as well? Am i doing it the wrong way>?
 

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Are you talking about in the horn? Wow, now that sounds really disgusting. I suggest you look up the word sputum in the dictionary. If what you're seeing is really sputum, then no, that's totally not normal, and yes you're doing it wrong. You shouldn't be expelling spit and mucous from your respiratory tract into your horn. What I suspect you're seeing is condensation, (not spit), which is perfectly normal. Now please excuse me, I have to visit the bathroom...
 

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Niagra Falls at the end of practice. LOL. A good tip is use a paper towel and then drain the moisture from the bell. You could avoid drinking liquids before you practice/rehearse that won't contribute to excess moisture and then drink afterwards. No, this is no indication of you doing anything wrong.

Added after above post. If you mean "spittle" that is what I thought you meant. However, sputum is a different matter. Not cool to gag into your horn and should be avoided.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
nono...it's not sputum in the horn, but rather a health issues...i always have sputum in my throat after practising the sax..I sometimes even cough profusely..anyone had this prob before?
 

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One question : do you smoke?

I tend to have it once in a while as well, for the simple reason that the high pressure in the lungs due to the playing, loosens up the sputum in the lungs. One more reason to stop smoking for me.

If you don't smoke, it might be you're allergic, asthmatic or have another condition (e.g. any kind of inflammation) that is not causing you problems, but does cause excessive production of sputum that comes loose when you play.

Nothing to really worry about imho, unless you have troubles (pain, breathing difficulty) etc. with it as well. Then I would say : talk to a doctor just to be sure.

disclaimer : I'm a biologist, NOT a doctor!
 

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Playing a horn is very benificial to your lungs. Sputum is the sign that your body is trying to remove some matter it doesn't like in your lungs. Like Jolle mentioned it can have numerous causes.

Do you feel the slightest bit run down, achy or feverish. I have asthma and blowing the horn is one of the best things for it, but allergies like if I get around a cat or dog will start to cause problems.

What color is your sputum. Clear isn't a big deal. Heavily mucoid sputum with a green color is a sign you need to put the horn down, get some rest and eat well for a few days. The only time I bring up sputum when I'm blowing is just about a day or two before I'm going to get sick with a cold/flu.
 

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I work in a lab. I've got to culture the stuff that comes out both ends every night I work.
 

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Basically I was a flute player, and when I played clarinet, it caused really stuffed up sinuses. Possibly related to slightly higher air pressure, or much slower exhalation. Whatever... I never did identify the cause, but the issue gradually went away.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the replies.

I don't smoke.. In fact, I am a medical student....i was just about to theorisize that the mucous production is a result of airway irritation by fast air we breathe in and out when blowing the sax....I am not sure though...a bit worried actually coz one of my lecturers mentioned that saxophonists have higher risk for emphysema.

My sputum is clear in colour..it doesn't affect me much but sometimes i just worry if they might bring graver repercussions...sigh...too much medic books i guess...

Anyway..when u guys catch a cold, how do u practise your sax? i can't imagine blowing germs into my saxy baby......
 

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Wendy said:
. . . one of my lecturers mentioned that saxophonists have higher risk for emphysema. . .
Interesting. I had the same problem as you for about a month while I was recovering from bronchitis/sinusitis. It seemed to be post nasal drip. My doctor also said he thought saxophonists would have a higher risk for emphysema, other things being equal, but he thought the effect of sax playing would be very small. He thought sax playing would be dwarfed by other factors, such as whether you smoke and whether you do cardio exercises. His explanation had to do with the effect of back-pressure on tiny air sacks in the lungs, i.e., it would tend to damage more of them.

heath: I know you work in a lab and feel that sax playing is very beneficial to your lungs. I guess there's just different opinions.
 

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Wendy,

A technique I use to cut instances of potential colds is to avoid infecting myself. IOW, trying to play sax with a cold prolongs the cold so I began to use rubbing alcohol to swab the mouthpiece inside and out, including treating both sides of the reed and everywhere on the ligature. Don't forget the reed cap if you have one, inside and out. The frequency of colds is down quite a bit, IME. :D You want to let the rubbing alcohol dry before you play. Is 20 minutes enough time? Works for me.

When in the USAF I was in a unit attached to the Flight Surgeon's office and learned that the biggest danger to the lungs is increased air pressure directed into the lungs rather than exhaling. This is not to say damage absolutely could not happen. The diaphram supports exhaling so you might seek out ways to strengthened the diaphram. Since you are in the medical field you should have access to competent medical advice.

Hope you get your situation sorted out for your benefit. Take care.
 
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