Hair bands round the wrist can lead to serious infections, a woman from Kentucky has discovered after she was required to undergo surgery after wearing this seemingly harmless accessory.
Audrey Kopp developed an unusually large and sore bump, after wearing a sparkly hair tie at her wrist throughout the entire day, as she transported her things into her new home.
According to Dr. Amit Gupta, the hand surgeon who removed Kopp’s localized abscess on Monday, bacteria from the patient’s mouth reached the elastic band, where they found an ideal breeding ground.
Due to friction between the skin and the rough surface of the glittery hair tie, a tiny cut formed in the woman’s wrist, and this is how germs managed to penetrate the skin’s surface, multiplying at staggering rates.
Apparently, Kopp had initially thought the bump had been caused by a spider bite, and had been prescribed antibiotics by her doctor, before her arrival at the Norton Healthcare hospital in Louisville.
However, despite that treatment the infection continued to advance rapidly, and the young woman was forced to go to the emergency department, where thick pus heavy in bacteria was eventually drained from within her abscess.
As Dr. Gupta explains, if the surgery had been delayed even for a day or two, the damage would’ve been much more extensive, even leading to life-threatening septicemia, given the rate at which the infection had been spreading.
This way, the patient is expected to make a full recovery, without experiencing any issues later on. The only sign alluding to the entire incident will be a scar which will probably remain visible at the site of incision.
While Dr. Gupta admits that throughout his career spanning across 25 years he has never encountered such a case, and it may be that the probability of developing an infection from a hair tie is almost negligible, people should still be careful about wearing such accessories round their wrist.
The findings aren’t completely astonishing however, since prior studies had indicated that those who favor wristwatches also experience more extensive bacterial contamination in that area, which can heighten the risk of infections.
Nowadays, a large number of women and even some long-haired men resort to elastic bands, keeping them close at hand, so as not to misplace them, and to ensure that they can tie their hair whenever the need arises.
While this habit may appear convenient and time-saving, in fact it seems it’s not entirely devoid of risks, however limited and unlikely they might appear.
Therefore, it is recommended that any wrist accessories should be worn loosely, for limited amounts of time, so as not to hamper blood flow in any way, or cause any skin abrasions.
Moreover, the items should be replaced and cleaned periodically, and varieties containing small metal pieces such as glitter should be avoided because those can break through the skin’s surface.
Extra caution should be taken especially by those who have cuts, scrapes or other wounds on that portion of their skin.
Immediate medical care should be sought, in the event of infection, which is usually signaled by easily noticeable symptoms such as soreness, pus, swelling, red streaking developed near the wound, fever, dizziness and chills.
Infected cuts or punctures are especially dangerous to people with weakened immune systems, such as those who suffer from diabetes or HIV, who are undergoing chemotherapy as part of their cancer treatment, or who are receiving dialysis or steroid medication.
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