Researchers: Musicians at risk for skin condition

San Diego – Irritants commonly found in musical instruments can cause a common skin condition known as contact dermatitis, and sharing instrument mouthpieces can lead to the spread of disease, according to research presented March 16 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Contact dermatitis is a skin rash that commonly appears on the hands and face. It can cause skin to be red, scaly and inflamed. Researchers said some of the potential musical instrument-related irritants reported to cause the condition include cane reeds, exotic woods, rosin and bee glue on woodwind and string instruments; and metals such as nickel, cobalt, palladium, silver and gold on brass instruments.

Researchers also found that human papillomavirus; hepatitis A, B and C; Staphylococcus aureus; and herpes simplex can all be spread if musicians share mouthpieces that were not cleaned properly.

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