Sat, Jul 14, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Doctor advises musicians to sterilize instruments

By Ou Su-mei and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Trumpet instructor Chang Yao holds the instrument’s mouthpiece and valves in Taichung on Thursday.

Photo: Ou Su-mei, Taipei Times

A pulmonologist has advised musicians to sterilize their instruments with rubbing alcohol following each use after a music student developed hypersensitivity pneumonitis from inhaling mold in her trumpet.

Since instruments accumulate saliva during use, they can develop mold if they are not cleaned and dried thoroughly, said Chang Meng-hsiang (張孟祥), a doctor at Feng Yuan Hospital’s Pulmonary Medicine Department in Taichung.

When a musician plays the instrument, they inhale and exhale mold, which causes allergic symptoms and respiratory discomfort, and could trigger disease, he said.

A 22-year-old student surnamed Huang (黃) said that she would often develop a minor cough after using her trumpet, so each time she would stop playing for a few days.

She said she had no idea that her hypersensitivity pneumonitis was triggered because her instrument was not clean.

People normally stop playing their instruments for a period of time if they feel unwell or lack energy, making it difficult to identify the allergen, Chang said.

Huang was hospitalized for a week, but has fully recovered, Chang said, adding that she was treated with steroids, whereas regular pneumonia is typically treated with antibiotics.

Chang said he has also treated farmers who developed allergic reactions similar to pneumonia after working in humid conditions or with mushrooms, soil or hay, because they breathed in mold.

Trumpet instructor Chang Yao (張堯), who has 43 years of experience performing, said he dries his trumpet’s mouthpiece and valves after each use, and regularly disassembles it for cleaning.

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