Playing the Bagpipes Can Make You Sick

A U.S. researcher says playing the bagpipes can cause "strange" lung and stomach problems.(Photo: crazebabe21 (Flickr))
A U.S. researcher says playing the bagpipes can cause "strange" lung and stomach problems.(Photo: crazebabe21 (Flickr))

It’s well known that, depending on individual taste, bagpipes can cause one either to put on a kilt and speak with a brogue, or to run for the hills.

Now an American physician says playing the bagpipes can cause potentially serious lung and stomach problems, according to BBC News.

Dr. Robert Sataloff, an otolaryngologist at Philadelphia’s Drexel University, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Temple University, says bagpipers are more prone to lung infections, including pneumonia. Sataloff says the instrument’s animal-hide bags, when cured with glycerine and honey, can act as breeding grounds for fungi that, when inhaled by bagpipers, can cause infection.

Sataloff also says bagpipers are more likely to experience other problems as a result of playing their instruments, and notably that they are more likely to have an hour-glass belly in which they develop funny-shaped distended stomachs with the air from playing the instrument.

Read more: Bagpipe Bugs ‘Can Bite’ (BBC)

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