Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Musical Instruments a Breeding Ground for Germs: Study

Musical Instruments a Breeding Ground for Germs: Study

05/13/11

FRIDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- Learning to play a musical instrument has many well-known advantages, but sharing wind instruments can spread disease-causing bacteria and other germs, researchers warn.

Germs linger for up to several days on a number of commonly shared musical instruments, including the clarinet, flute and saxophone, according to a report from Tufts University School of Medicine.

The study, released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the International Journal of Environmental Health Research, analyzed samples collected from 20 clarinets, flutes and saxophones, and found living bacteria as well as mold or yeast on every instrument.

The method the researchers employed to test the instruments involved using a pump, an aerosol generator and simulated playing. They found that after applying E. coli, Staphylococcus and a deactivated strain of tuberculosis bacteria to a clarinet, cultures showed that the bacteria survived for up to a few days on the instrument. The deactivated strain of tuberculosis bacteria, in particular, survived for nearly two weeks.

Among the other organisms the researchers found growing on and inside instruments were mold and other fungi. The worst offenders -- wooden reeds and mouthpieces -- harbored the greatest quantities of bacteria.

Based on the findings, the researchers cautioned that musical instruments should be properly cleaned after use.

"Thousands of children share musical instruments in elementary and high school each year but there is no established standard for cleaning those instruments. We found that disease-causing germs survive on commonly shared instruments for one to two days," Dr. Stuart Levy, a professor of molecular biology and microbiology and director of the Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance at Tufts University School of Medicine, said in a university news release.

The study's authors offered the following tips on how to prevent or minimize the transfer and growth of germs on musical instruments:

  • Don't share. Whenever possible, instrumentalists should have their own instruments, mouthpieces and reeds.
  • Clean after every use. If an instrument is shared or obtained from a commercial source, it should be disassembled and then cleaned using alcohol wipes, soap and water, or a commercial disinfectant.
  • Microwave. Cleaning cloths, such as swab pull-throughs and other drying cloths, can be microwaved after use to kill germs before storing them away in instrument cases.

"Although hygienic practices increasingly are being encouraged, in part by the swine flu epidemic and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA) outbreaks, our results suggest that cleaning shared wind instruments should also be encouraged, especially in schools," Levy concluded.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides detailed information on how to stop the spread of germs.

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse Hospital First in Region to Use New da Vinci Xi Surgical System
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >