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Violin Rosin

Hello. I am new to Asthma Uk and have only joined this morning. I have a son aged 12 who is a very talented violinist. I believe he is developing an allergic, asthmatic reaction to violin rosin. Every time he practises recently he has to stop as he becomes tight chested. The problem is becoming more pronounced, I've realised as his new teacher insists on him using the full bow. In orchestra he seems to be one of the strongest players but I've been informed that he had to sit out a couple of times recently and take his inhaler. I am very concerned and wondered if anyone can advise. Thank you.

3 Replies

Hi and welcome,

I don't have an asthma reaction to rosin but I do get contact dermatitis from it (which is comparative easy to avoid). I can see how the dust from it could also be a problem. I would say it is worth speaking to his teacher/asthma nurse about it but some ideas could be:

Is he putting too much on the bow and therefore producing too much powder? (Many children do this)

Could you try using a different rosin?

Could you pretreat with reliever before playing?

These are just some of my initial thoughts as a string player/asthmatic but, like I said it is worth discussing with teacher/GP.


Thank you KaylaCP. I've had a little search around and have found ....

and a rosin called .... .

I'll discuss with his teacher. It's only just dawned on me that there might be a link with the rosin. We've had a lot of dust in the house anyway lately following a fire and all our stuff being taken away for cleaning. the rosin may be just one more thing that his lungs are saying they need a break from. Maybe he's experiencing increased sensitivity as a result of all the other dust (white powder from fire extinguisher etc)

He has however been forced to stop playing a large number of times at home in the past, quite suddenly announcing that he has asthma. i thought maybe I was making him tense (fellow string player/teacher) but now I'm beginning to consider it's something physical.

I think I'll drop his violin teacher an email before term starts to warn him and get some advice.

Sorry about your own issues with rosin. Thanks very much for your welcome and helpful advice.


Rosin (colophony) is a well known trigger for occupational asthma. There is extensive literature about workers sensitized by using rosin-cored solder. Asthma symptoms from violin rosin prevented me from playing violin for years until "Clarity" hypoallergenic rosin became available. (This stuff is supposedly chemically similar to surgical adhesive.)


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