Attention woodwind players! (Woodwindists?) Don’t suck bacteria, mold, or fungi into your oh-so-precious lungs. Clean your instrument and stay healthy. (You can bet your boots Benny Goodman cleaned his clarinet.)
Here’s a public service announcement for anyone who plays a woodwind, such as a clarinet or saxophone: Clean your instrument!
A case study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows that it’s possible to develop allergic pulmonary disease, known as “Saxophone Lung,” in response to the mold that collects over time in woodwind instruments. Saxophone Lung is really a type of hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which is the inflammation of the lung tissue, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The case study detailed a man who was coughing and wheezing when he sought medical treatment at the Emory University Adult Asthma, Allergy and Immunology Clinic. He was initially diagnosed with allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA). Researchers conducted chest imaging and tested for fungus, and found evidence of infection with different fungi. They also found that his saxophone reed was positive for the fungus Exophiala.
The man was given oral steroids, but his condition did not get better until he sterilized his instrument.
Photo by the great 8.