Could you have a bagpipe lung? Warning about toxic mold inside wind instruments like trombone and saxophone
Playing the bagpipe can be fatal, due to the mud spores lurking in it.
The wind instrument can harbor a multitude of fungi and molds that can cause “bagpipe lung”, experts warn.
Blowing in warm, humid air creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and when the player breathes they inhale the spores in their lungs.
Deadly: playing the bagpipe could put your health at risk as instruments can be filled with toxic molds that cause an allergic reaction in the lungs when inhaled (file photo)
The warning came after a bagpiper died of chronic inflammatory pulmonary hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
This condition occurs when the lungs have an allergic reaction to something that a person has inhaled.
One example is a farmer’s lung, which is caused by breathing in molds that grow on hay, straw and grain.
Another is the bird enthusiast’s lung, which is caused by inhaling particles of feathers or bird droppings.
Inhaling certain chemicals can also cause this condition.
The new study warned that bagpipe, trombone and saxophone players can also be affected by lung problems.
RARE DISEASES OF LUNGS
The following conditions are all types of hypersensitivity pneumonitis – where the lungs have an allergic reaction to inhaled mold spores
An allergic reaction to mold and fungi lurking inside wind instruments.
The farmer’s lung
An allergic reaction to spores inhaled by moldy hay or other crops.
Lung of bird lovers
An allergic reaction to particles of feathers or bird droppings
He mentions how a 61-year-old man was referred to a specialist lung clinic in 2014 after seven years of dry cough and progressive shortness of breath, despite treatment.
His condition worsened to the point that he could no longer walk more than 20 meters and had difficulty breathing, which resulted in his admission to hospital.
He was diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in 2009, although the cause was not identified as he was not a fancier and did not live in a damp house or smoke.
But he played the bagpipes daily but didn’t take them with him on a three-month trip to Australia, and his symptoms quickly improved.
Scientists therefore took samples from inside the bagpipes, including the bag, neck and reed protector.
The samples grew various different fungi including Paecilomyces variotti, Fusarium oxysporum, Penicillium species, Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, Trichosporon mucoides and Exophiala dermatitidis.
Despite medication, he died and a postmortem examination revealed extensive lung damage consistent with acute respiratory distress syndrome and tissue fibrosis (scarring).
Inflamed: bagpipe lung, or hypersensitivity pneumonitis, as it is medically called, causes inflammation of the alveoli in the lungs (file photo)
Dr Jenny King, of South Manchester University Hospital, said: “This is the first case report identifying fungal exposure, from a bagpipe player, as a potential trigger for the development of pneumonia. hypersensitivity.
âThe clinical history of daily bagpipe play, associated with marked symptomatic improvement when this exposure was removed, and the identification of several potential precipitating antigens isolated from bagpipes, make this the probable cause. “
âThere have been reports of previous cases of HP in saxophone and trombone players attributable to isolated fungi and Candida. “
There have also been reports of hypersensitivity pneumonia in saxophone and trombone players, doctors said (file photo). Musicians were asked to clean the instruments after use
And any type of wind instrument could be contaminated with yeast and mold, making players susceptible to hypersensitivity pneumonia, she added.
“Cleaning instruments immediately after use and letting them drain could theoretically reduce the risk of microbial growth,” suggested Dr King.
She continued, âThere have been isolated cases of musicians developing hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
“Clinicians should be aware of this potential trigger for the development of hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and woodwind players should be aware of the importance of regularly cleaning their instruments to minimize this risk.”
The study was published in the Thorax of the BMJ.