Important: We recommend asking healthcare workers any medical-related question. Due to continuous information updates, this article may contain not-updated reports.
Last update: 24th May 2020
Since the Alarm-Situation the world is living due to COVID-19, many doubts have arisen regarding prevention and protection for musicians, specially saxophonists. We would like to account for some recommendations and basic informations we have found regarding how to clean our instruments in order to keep our selves as protected as possible. We have contacted several health care workers (as well as saxophonists). We will publish other articles regarding COVID-19 and saxophone, where we will isssue this topics:
-How to handle this situation in class, rehearsals and concerts.
WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS? CORONAVIRUS FOR DUMMIES
Coronaviruses are a family of virus which may harm both animals and humans. As for humans, it is known that several coronaviruses cause respiratory deceases which may present in several ways, such as a common cold or Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Acute Severe Respiratory Syndrome (SRAS).
COVID-19 is the most recent illness regarding coronavirus. Both this new virus and the illness it provoques where unknown before Wuhan became the focus of the pandemic in December 2019. Nowadays COVID-19 is a worldwide pandemic. Symptoms may include:
– Sore throat
– Constant trembling
– Muscle ache
– Loss of taste or smellability.
Severe cases may include as well:
– Kidney insufficiency.
Several symptoms have beendetected. This is only a list of the most frequent ones.
COVID Carriers Split in Four:
– Subclinical: Asymptomatic
– Infected in the upper respiratory tract: few symptoms (fever and cough, mainly; also headache and conjuntivitis)
– Third group: Biggest group. High fever, frequent coughing, strong headache.
– Fourth group: Pneumonia.
It is recommended for people with no or few symptoms to self-quarantine at home. Symptoms will show from 5 to 14 days after the infection situation.
Humidity and temperatura must be taken into account. The more humid a place is, the longer the virus will stay on surfaces. If you want more information, visit WHO website.
HOW CAN I AVID GETTING INFECTED? DIFFERENCES BETWEEN STERILIZING; DISINFECTING AND HYGIENIZING
– STERILIZING: It destroys any form of microbian living. It destroys all kinds of bacteria. This extreme level of cleaning is hard to achieve and mantain. Once you open something, sterilization is not guaranteed.
– DISINFECT: It is a process through which a big part of microbian (but not entirely) life is destroyed. Disinfectants cannot destroy spores. This gets an aceptable level of higiene. It is easy to do.
– CLEANING: It is the process which removes all superficial dirt. This aims to destroy habitats for virusesor germs.
– HYGIENIZE: Cleaning+Disinfecting. An example would be sweeping and mopping the floor.
All cleaning process are temporary. Therefore, we must not consider these processes as 100 % secure. Prevention is also important: You cannot have your sax without germs if you are not free from them as well. This also applies for the places we keep our instruments in, for example. Therefore, we must take mesures to keep our saxophone clean, such as washing hands before/after playing; making sure air is renewed in the room we play, cleaning our desks and not touching our mouths, noses and eyes.
HYGIENIZE= CLEANING + DISINFECT
HOW CAN WE DISINFECT OUR SAXOPHONES?
ALCOHOL (60 %) + WATER (40 %).
Only use ethyl alcohol, for it is not toxic. This is a powerful, easy to make, cheap way to disinfect; but its prolonged use may harm your instrument. Use it carefully and very ocasionally.
OXIGENED WATER (50-50 %).
This is also a good way to disinfect your instrument but it may cause some stains to your saxophone, as well as decolorizing parts of it. It is toxic as well, so be careful when using it.
It has been said to disinfect some types or food. However, we do not recommend it, since it is only effective to remove 5-6 vegetable germs.
Not useful to clean since it does not have enough alcohol in it. Therefore, it is not recommended.
UV-C rays are used to disinfect some machines in hospitals, but are very expensive. They may also cause cancer when overexposed. They are recommended for prevention, but not to disinfect.
Hospital sanitizing with UV-C Rays.
UV ray lamps in the main marketplaces. They dont specify with kind of UV Ray are: UV-A, UV-B or UV-C
It is a disinfect solution, but it is not known whether it is useful to prevent and kill COVID-19. It must only be used by experts. We have disinfected some instruments (along with Sergio Jerez –Bricomusicos, see pictures below-) with ozone. In less than seven days we have noticed a problem regarding oxyde stains. It is not very expensive (and it does not smell bad), but we do not recommend it to clean instruments.
Old Alto Saxophone exposed 6 times to Ozone disinfection.
SOAP + WATER
Perfect solution for cleaning, but a saxophone has a big number of parts, so we cannot put it under water (unless it is in pieces). Therefore, it cannot be done very often. Here there’s a video by Bricomusicos where you can see how to clean a tudel with water and soap.
It is unknown whether ultrasound cleaning disinfects from COVID-19. We do not recommend it, since many of the problems Soap+Water had a represent here as well.
BLEACH + WATER (1:50 ratio)
It is a good disinfectant but not apt for objects that you put in your mouth. It is very oxidant, so its continuous use will harm your saxophone. Therefore, it is not recommended.
No doubt. Its the best and more safefy way to disinfect.
QUARANTINE FOR SAXES AND MOUTHPIECES:
MINIMUM OF 4 DAYS
HOW LONG WILL COVID-19 STAY IN MY SAXOPHONE/ACCESORIES?
If sterilization is imposible to keep, we must disinfect it from time to time. Most of the viruses cannot live outside of living creatures for long -some even “die” when exposed to air. But others are very resistant. A New England Journal of Medicine study accounted for COVID.19 to be pressent in iron, plastic, paperboard and copper.
Sax is mainly made of brass. Brass is a mix of copper (70 %) and zinc (30 %). Sax cleaning would then be easy, since COVID-19 would not last more than 4 hours on it. However, its finishes and accesories make it behave like a plastic surface.
MAIN SAFETY GUIDELINES
– Frequent hand-washing with water and soap or hand sanitizer.
– Social distancing, specially from people coughing.
– Not touching your eyes, nose or mouth
– When coughing, cover your nose and mouth using your arm or a tissue.
– If you cough and you have trouble breathing, request medical assistance.
– Follow the instructions from local authorities.
* DO NOT SHARE YOUR INSTRUMENT.
* DO NOT SHARE THE ACCESORIES.
* CLEAN AND KEEP IN SAFE PLACES YOUR INSTRUMENT.
* DISINFECTION WILL NOT WORK WITHOUT PREVENTIVE MEASURES.
* TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY MAY INCREASE THE TIME COVID-19 IS IN YOUR SAX.
* KEEP IT DRY.
OTHER POST RELATED TO COVID-19
-How to handle this situation in class, rehearsals and concerts. (Coming soon)
-Round table: May 2nd 2020 (Spanish language). https://www.adolphesax.com/index.php/es/actualidad/noticias/5082-covid19-y-el-saxofon-mesa-redonda-on-line-participas
Bibliografía y sitografía:
– The New England Journal of Medicine: https://www.nejm.org/
– NAMM Covid-19 article: https://www.namm.org/covid-19/articles/covid-19-and-instrument-cleaning
– Pagina sanidad: https://www.mscbs.gob.es/
– COVID-19 Spanish government page: https://covid19.gob.es/
– Sergio Jerez Gómez article: http://sergio.jerezgomez.com/covid-19-y-la-higiene-de-los-instrumentos-de-musica/
– OMS: https://www.who.int