Mouthpieces and Cold Sores

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Barking Baritone!, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. Barking Baritone!

    Barking Baritone! New Member

    A player in my band is having a terrible time at the moment, and seems to be getting cold sores after every rehearsal. If she doesn't play for a while, they clear up. Could this be related to the use of a metal mouthpiece? Has anyone any experience with plastic mouthpieces, and whether they improve the situation?
    This is a bit worrying for me (as a conductor), with three weeks to the area, and very frustrating for the player in question.
    Any information would be very welcome.


  2. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    I know one mouthpiece which won't give you coldsores... well unless you kiss the computer routinely...

    Seriously, sounds like a metal allergy. As you've mentioned, plastic is one alternative, as well as wood or a ceramic rim on the metal mouthpiece. Would be easier to try a gold plated mouthpiece first though, as this is less active than the nickel in silver plate.
  3. bennem

    bennem Member

    Very unlikely to be a cold sore from the mouthpiece. The main reason is that most people (>90%) have a latent Herpes infection and when you get a cold sore you have reactivated the virus not caught it from something. A second reason is that Herpes Simplex virus doesn't "live" very long on a hard surface (seconds) therefore unlikely/impossible that the mouthpiece is harbouring an infection.

    It is possible that playing is activiating the virus but it is most likely a metal allergy, go for a plastic mouthpiece or try a gold plated mouthpiece.
  4. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    As mentioned before Alaric Knight in Sheffield will replate mouthpieces at a very reasonable price.
  5. Barking Baritone!

    Barking Baritone! New Member

    Thanks for the info. Could it be possible that she suffers from both a metal allergy and cold sores? Do they have similar symptoms? The problem seems to have become much worse since Christmas. I know cold sores are brought on by stress, although that doesn't appear to be an issue (unless you consider being engaged to the conductor and/or playing Variations for Brass Band as stressful!!).
  6. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    Maybe the allergy is causing sores the look like cold sores? Metal sensitisation is not the same as the viral infection that causes cold sores, so I can't see how they could be related.
  7. Barking Baritone!

    Barking Baritone! New Member

    Yes, I understand that. I was just wondering if the symptoms were the same (i.e. nasty sores on your lips!).
    Thanks for all the info - its very helpful!
  8. bennem

    bennem Member

    Both will produce nasty sores on your lips. But you can recognise a Herpes sore by it having small liquid filled blisters.

    Go to google images and type in cold sores and you will get some relevant pictures of cold sores. But please don't become alarmed at the serious herpes infection pictures that you will also find. Those types of Herpes occurances are very rare.
  9. premacyblue

    premacyblue Member

    I suffered the same problem too. It came down to I was pressing too hard on a small mouthpiece and irrititating my lip line which starts the process off. I found using a larger mouthpiece and also a kelly plastic mouthpiece in Winter Months Helps. Also soak your mouthpiece in a Savlon solution to stop reinfection and have some TCP or Zovirax handy for when your mouth starts tingling.

    Hope this helps
  10. After I came back from tour in 2003 i came back with what i thought was a big coldsore. I've had coldsores before and was convinced that it was one. Being diagnosed with a metal allery beforehand didnt even cross my mind. Because i'd had this "coldsore" for coming up to 3 weeks, i was getting a bit desperate so put some of my steriod cream for my ezcema on it, and it had gone in 2 days.

    If they keep getting these "coldsores", and especially on the run up to the areas, are playing more than they would usually (if it started before xmas think of all the extra jobs), from my experience i'd go for an allergy, but i'm not a doctor.
    Even if it is a reoccuring coldsore (as in has been there since xmas), they should go to the doctor to have it checked out, then they can give a proper diagnosis.
  11. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    I'd definitely be soaking the mouthpiee in mild antiseptic, just in case, after giving it a thorough clean (inside and out). Never had cold sores but find this works for recurrent mouth ulcers.

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