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Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!

CupOfTea 23 Aug 10 - 06:24 PM
The Fooles Troupe 23 Aug 10 - 06:37 PM
DADGBE 23 Aug 10 - 10:05 PM
JohnB 23 Aug 10 - 11:58 PM
Naemanson 24 Aug 10 - 12:34 AM
Gurney 24 Aug 10 - 02:43 AM
Will Fly 24 Aug 10 - 03:21 AM
GUEST,LDT 24 Aug 10 - 04:53 AM
IanC 24 Aug 10 - 04:58 AM
mikesamwild 24 Aug 10 - 05:03 AM
Naemanson 24 Aug 10 - 07:29 AM
Gurney 24 Aug 10 - 04:15 PM
Alan Day 24 Aug 10 - 05:52 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 25 Aug 10 - 07:49 AM
CupOfTea 29 Aug 10 - 08:33 AM
Jack Campin 29 Aug 10 - 08:48 PM
olddude 29 Aug 10 - 08:57 PM
The Fooles Troupe 29 Aug 10 - 09:03 PM
CupOfTea 30 Aug 10 - 04:23 PM
Alan Day 30 Aug 10 - 06:57 PM
olddude 30 Aug 10 - 07:47 PM
GUEST,Concer Nostra 31 Aug 10 - 02:52 AM
CupOfTea 31 Aug 10 - 06:40 PM
Melissa 31 Aug 10 - 06:53 PM
GUEST,Woody 01 Sep 10 - 06:54 AM
GUEST,Woody 02 Sep 10 - 03:15 AM
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Subject: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: CupOfTea
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 06:24 PM

I fell in love with an Anglo Concertina, and what do I get? Itchy agony!

'Tis part of a larger problem that started this summer. It began with needing a new pair of shoes. I wear clogs/open back shoes to accommodate painful bone spurs on my heels, and it's always a project to FIND some that don't cost the earth: I'm not in the Birkenstock league. So, I find m'self the very thing and start wearing 'em. It's hot. It's humid. I sweat considerably.

And my feet start itching. I didn't put these two facts together right away, but the tops of my feet were sooooo itchy- that kind that needs scratching so fierce and feels like sexual release once you do it. I've had a couple rounds of shingles and was terrified that this was the third go round, as I started to feel itchy in the hands and a few other places. The last time left me some nerve damage that shows up occasionally as a mildly itchy back. I start carrying on me an extendable "back scratcher" - when the itch hits when I'm driving the car, that thing's a lifesaver.   

I groused about this to my friend Margaret, who has a good grasp of what makes a body work/or not who suggested it was the chemicals that leather is tanned with that was the problem. Darn if she wasn't right: chromium allergies causing contact dermatitis for wearers of leather goods is a well documented issue, with different chemical varieties of the chromium being of different threat levels.

The main itch is where the new shoes hit and where the hand straps on my concertina go. Reading up on "contact dermatitis" also suggested that the situation can be worsened by perspiration - something I've been doing profusely. The itchyness let up after a couple days of wearing sandals with more expensive leather & less contact with the skin. I put cut off cotton socks over my concertina straps and had immediate relief from the sensation being worsened every time I slipped my hands around my dearest squeezebox.

Shoes and gloves seem to be the major culprits in this, making folks think they're allergic to the leather. One research paper went into detail about a professional golfer having problems with their golf glove. I wondered if anyone else ran into this with the straps on their squeezeboxes, or instrument straps, or drumheads on hand drums, etc. On the plus side, some sources seem to think that if you're not perspiring, the contact dermatitis isn't as likely. Others say, once you've developed the sensitivity, you are inclined to react to lower levels. It looks like I'll have to wear socks in the season I'd rather live without them, and modify the hand straps on the concertina with something more elegant than cut off socks.

Joanne, still scratching occasionally in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 06:37 PM

Allergic reactions that suddenly appear may be due to the immune system reacting strongly due to a change in its sensitivity. This may be a symptom of being 'run down' for too long, excessive emotional stress. etc.

One suggestion (and I do apologize if it sounds 'glib') is to improve your 'general state of health'.

I can't really suggest what would assist you in improving this, since I know nothing about you, and you can be distracted by all sorts of weird nonsense that various people are trying to promote.

Your 'strap socks' and similar methods are useful, for any process that isolates you from whatever irritant is promoting the reactions is useful for a start.

Sadly since it can be difficult to find an 'elegant solution', which cuts thru to the underlying problems, perhaps symptom alleviation is the best first step. Are you able to investigate various 'anti-histamine' products? Some herbal methods can provide anti-histamine type relief, but I'm not an expert. Also, the cost of such 'alternative medicines' may exceed the cost of effective prescribed, or over the counter methods.

Best wishes may be the most I can do at the moment sorry. Hope your music can continue without too much restriction - it can help your emotional mood!


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: DADGBE
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 10:05 PM

You might want to replace your leathern concertina straps with nylon webbing or some such.


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: JohnB
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 11:58 PM

You could as a last resort just give it to me.
Otherwise, Man Made Pleather seems hardly a decent alternative, so, find someone who does that Leather Tooling type of work, they generally work with Vegetable Tanned Leathers, A search for a "Tandy" leather shop near you may also give you a source of raw material.
Good Luck, in desperation there is always optio "A", JohnB


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: Naemanson
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 12:34 AM

It's OK. Relax. The rest of us are allergic to concertinas too. Our allergies come through the ears....


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: Gurney
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 02:43 AM

You could try treating the leather to a dose of Neatsfoot Oil. It will certainly improve and preserve the leather, and MAY improve the allergy.

On the other hand, it may be Neatsfoot that you are allergic to! Do you have a cow products allergy?

Naemanson, no we aren't! We all love free-reed instruments.


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 03:21 AM

I've seen melodeon players place sponge rubber between their wrists and the melodeon straps - mainly for comfort. You could try the same - just lengthen the concertina strap, then slip a strip of sponge rubber between the strap and the back of your hand. Comfort and protection all in one... :-)


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 04:53 AM

Okay...apologies for the terrible playing it was my first attempt at playing the concertina
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxOL3hFzH5E
but in the first few seconds you can see my solution to irritating straps (not allergic just they made red marks) which sounds like your sock idea (actually they were made from socks I've since bought proper fingerless gloves.


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: IanC
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 04:58 AM

Hi ... if you have a chrome allergy, why not use straps made from vegetable tanned leather?

I make undyed straps for all the concertinas I restore and sell. Takes me a few minutes.

Drop me a PM if you're in the UK and I'll send you a pair. Is it a Lachenal?

:-)


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: mikesamwild
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 05:03 AM

You can get nickel allergy through metal ends. And gusset weevils may bring you out in a rash.

The lesser of 2 weevils.


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: Naemanson
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 07:29 AM

"We all love free-reed instruments."

I read the words but my brain insisted on turning them around. It came out as "free love reed instruments."


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: Gurney
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 04:15 PM

Naemanson, Les Barker has a poem about that. I think it's called 'Arnold.'

"My brain turned them around." Les has a poem about that, too. 'The Y Files.'

Do you play the banjo, and are you trying to deflect shot and shell?


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: Alan Day
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 05:52 PM

Itching,Sexual release,Chrome allergies,Gusset Weevils
This explains a lot, playing mine for forty years.
Al


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 07:49 AM

I purchase old belts from charity shops for material for replacement concertina straps. There will be something out there that you are not sensitive to. Just look for a label confirming the material used.


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: CupOfTea
Date: 29 Aug 10 - 08:33 AM

By the time I'm done with it, nobody but me is going to want this concertina. I recently had the bars moved closer to the buttons to accomodate my small hands and short fingers, as well as one bar chopped shorter so I can get to the air button. Arnold the Armadillo of Les Barker's world wouldn't give my Stagibaby a second look... none of that silver buttons & brown wood ends!

To deal with the leather, I've covered the straps with a close-fit faux leather flannel like grey fabric. Even the end attaching it to the wood is covered, with the screw going through the grey fabric. I'm hoping the fabric is enough, though I thought of putting padding inside on the part facing the skin. In the colder weather, I wear fingerless gloves to play at dances (where the halls are cooler to keep the dancer happier than the band) which gives another layer of isolation.

I'll be exploring sources of vegetable tanned leather, for the comfort of hands and, sadly feet. I can't wear flipflop sandals once the snow flies.

Joanne in Cleveland, still scratching.


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Aug 10 - 08:48 PM

Sorry, but Foolestroupe's well-meant suggestions are almost all completely wrong.

Nickel/chromium sensitivity is pretty well-understood. It has nothing to do with poor health, bad nutrition or immune system dysfunction. It's pretty common (about 10% of the population to some extent). Antihistamines won't do a thing for it. It almost always worsens with age and exposure to the allergens, and can develop to the point of crippling lung or skin damage. The only solution is to avoid exposure to alloys and compounds containing nickel and chromium. Nickel- or chrome-plated instrument keys and buttons could well become a problem.

A porous material won't necessarily be a good enough barrier.


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: olddude
Date: 29 Aug 10 - 08:57 PM

LDT
there is nothing wrong with your playing for someone just starting out it was pretty darn good. I don't play that instrument but you got it working and I suspect in a very short time will be pumping out the tunes


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 29 Aug 10 - 09:03 PM

"Foolestroupe's well-meant suggestions are almost all completely wrong"

So True! Thank you Jack! :-)

We'll try again then - I enjoy being helpful... :-P

"A porous material won't necessarily be a good enough barrier. "

As long as you have no allergy to plastic materials, you could completely replace the straps with such materials, or try sealing the material with various types of plastic - one suggestion is the stuff you can get in a can from a hardware store to dip the handles of pliers etc. Not being cruel, I will refrain from suggesting to use the whole instrument....


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: CupOfTea
Date: 30 Aug 10 - 04:23 PM

Nickel- or chrome-plated instrument keys and buttons could well become a problem.

I'll keep that in mind if I ever get to the point of affording a concertina where that's a possibility. My Stagi has some variety of ivory colored plastic for the buttons. I'm hoping the thick fabric won't be porous enough to continue the problem, though I can slip a plastic sheet in between the leather and the fabric "slipcover" I've made for the straps just to be sure.

The idea of this worsening is scary, though, and dealing with the shoe issue bound to get tricky very soon too. I'm searching for makers of shoes with natural/non-chrome tanned leather through folks who do historic re-enactment. I'm hoping I could get leather straps from them, as well. ( IanC, wish I could take you up on the possibilty, but I'm in the Cleveland in Ohio, US, rather than UK.) I don't look forward to finding other things that are going to aggravate this sensitivity. I also don't look forward to having to go the doctor over this, but I suppose I'd better.

Thanks for information& etc.

Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: Alan Day
Date: 30 Aug 10 - 06:57 PM

Interesting Nickel/Chrome allergy suggestion, but I have never heard of a concertina player that has had it.
The best policy with these sort of things is to work on each item at a time and then move on to the next.It is most likely leather that is causing your problems so attack that from various directions first. The itchyness should be on the back of your hands as that is the area most exposed to the leather. If it is on the palms then it could be a reaction to the hand rest treatment. A bit of sandpaper to remove it could be the answer, but protect the inside of dust by protection, say masking tape that can easily be removed after sanding.
Al


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: olddude
Date: 30 Aug 10 - 07:47 PM

Maybe this is a really stupid idea but how about the gloves that don't cover the fingers just the hand part (like the kind many street vendors use when they have to make change for a customer). At least the back of the hand and the palms would be covered but your fingers would be free to play the keys .. would that work


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: GUEST,Concer Nostra
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 02:52 AM

>>From: Naemanson
>>Date: 24 Aug 10 - 12:34 AM
>>
>>It's OK. Relax. The rest of us are allergic to concertinas too. Our >>allergies come through the ears....

Your comments have been noted.
The Concertina Mafia have been informed.
You have a 24-hour head start.


;-)


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: CupOfTea
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 06:40 PM

Maybe this is a really stupid idea

Nahhhhh, darlin Old Dude, not really...but I'll tell ya, when it's 90+ degrees, and the humidity pushes the heat index up over 100, ya really do NOT want to wear gloves! I actually have, and use, those gloves (they're stashed in the bottom of the concertina case so I don't lose 'em) in the winter when the dance halls are cool enough for the dancers and too durn cold for the band.

Covering the leather seemed to be a good solution till I can replace it with naturally tanned leather. One spot where hand-hits-leather in a place exposed by fingerless gloves is where the thumb goes for the air button, which I can now actually REACH since the Button Box nipped off the very end of the hand rest when they moved them closer to the buttons. I'm still getting used to the new "reach" with the moved bars and groan at the irony of having this new complication just when we'd solved the hand strain problems.

welp, I can't complain of boredom now, can I?

Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: Melissa
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 06:53 PM

Did you try washing your straps (and shoes) to see if the problem is with the poison new stuff is packed in for shipping/storage?


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: GUEST,Woody
Date: 01 Sep 10 - 06:54 AM

Just a thought. How about treating the surface of the strap that comes into contact with your hand with a liquid bandage product such as New Skin or Band-Aid Liquid Bandage.

This stuff creates a tough & flexible barrier and should I think work. The only question would seem to be how long it would last before it needed replacing.


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Subject: RE: Eeek! Allergic to my Concertina!!
From: GUEST,Woody
Date: 02 Sep 10 - 03:15 AM

I've tried using some liquid bandage on a spare strap and it seems to work really well as an almost-invisible totally flexible barrier - but you'd have to try it yourself to see if the allergy problem was solved. It's certainly nicer than covering the straps with fabric or wearing gloves.


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