All the kids out there looking to quit the school band may now have the excuse they've been looking for. Playing a used musical instrument, it turns out, may be harmful to your health.
A study published this month in the journal General Dentistry found that bacteria and fungi can thrive on woodwind and brass instruments for months after the last use, resulting in infections and allergic diseases. The researchers, who tested 13 instruments previously played by a high school band, detected bacteria that can cause staph infections, molds that can contribute to the development of asthma, and yeasts that can lead to skin infections around the mouth and lips, in a phenomenon known as "red lips."
So how can students who want to stick with band stay healthy? The researchers recommend disassembling and thoroughly disinfecting instruments after every use. Oh, and don't share your instrument with others. We at the Wire have a humble recommendation for the researchers' next line of inquiry: bowling shoes.