[Harp-L] Disinfecting harps, Re: Harp-L Digest, Vol 104, Issue 37

This question has come up before on harp-l and this time I thought I would research it a bit and offer some scientific advice.  
  Naturally there are no studies of how long viruses or bacteria might survive inside a harmonica. Harmonicas can get damp and have organic material inside them from the player's saliva. So how long could germs (bacteria and viruses) survive and what should one do about it? Studies in dentistry suggest that sterility or asepsis is very difficult to achieve and harder to maintain, it is better to create conditions where germs cannot reproduce and survive. This means keep your harps clean (which one should do anyway for playing purposes) and if you think you or someone else has blown germs into one, then set it aside for several days to dry and allow time for the germs to die off. After ideally a week but at least three days (one day to dry harp completely two to kill most germs)  set aside dry pretty much everything will be dead. Play another harp instead meantime! 
  Do not share harps and, if someone else plays yours then follow the procedure above with it. Never mind  colds and flu, sharing harps seems to me to be a possible route to hepatitis C infection, as this incurable virus can be transmitted for example via dirty cups particularly if there is blood involved. Someone playing a harp with a cut or crack in their lips or mouth could well put blood into the harp. They would not necessarily know, or know that they had hep C. Richard
Richard Hammersley

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