Wind instrument musicians have a higher risk for chest infections

  • British Thoracic Society
  • 5 Dec 2019

  • curated by Pavankumar Kamat
  • UK Medical News
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

According to a new research, musicians who play wind instrument may have a higher risk for chest infections compared with the general population, possibly because of bacteria harbouring inside their instruments. The findings were presented at the recent British Thoracic Society (BTS) Winter Meeting.

Researchers investigated the possible link between playing wind instruments and chest infections among 54 members of the University of Nottingham orchestra through a questionnaire.

The findings showed that wind instrument musicians had an incidence of 62 chest infections per 1000 people per year compared with an incidence of 49-54 per 1000 people in the general population. This represents a 16 per cent higher risk among the musicians. Fifty-two per cent of musicians reported not cleaning their instrument after every use, and 58 per cent said they were never been taught how to clean their instruments thoroughly. Only 39 per cent believed they had a higher risk for a chest infection.

The lead author, Holly Drover from Nottingham University Hospitals said: "Interestingly, wind musicians didn’t know they could be at greater risk and this lack of awareness could be behind the relatively low levels of instrument hygiene we found. My advice would be to thoroughly clean wind instruments every time – and not just a quick wipe.”