No, I don't mean to suggest that anyone would ever say that there's anything remotely "contagious" about listening to me play. I'm talking about actual bacteria, viri, and other microscopic nasties that might be all over my instrument.
Last week, I was playing duets with a friend, as we do weekly. Usually after a couple hours of making noise and blowing hard like that, I might be just a little tired but when we finish I am always still juiced to go and feel like playing longer than my pianist friend is up for. Not this time. When he called an end to our session after 2+ hours, I felt downright exhausted, slightly dizzy, and just generally "out of it." I chalked that up to a particularly intense session. I drove home still feeling a little "buzzed". I sat down at home for a minute, and woke up two hours later, sweating. Thermometer said I was running a fever of 101 degrees F. I was flat on my back for the next 3 days, quite sick (details you don't need or want to read about).
Now almost a week later, I'm feeling almost completely better, and in the mood to pick up my flute. But I'm wondering...am I gonna catch that same bug again, this time, from germs I breathed into my flute? Do I need to boil my flute swab hankie? What's the standard expectation for flute hygiene during flute season? Wipe the inside of the tube with a swab sprinkled with alcohol? I can't imagine that would do the pads any good.
Is this a complete non-issue? I'd typically just shrug and move on, but I was pretty miserable for several days and do not want to go through that again.
So what's the story with spreading germs via flute?