We all suffer ingrown hairs at one time or another and most of the time all we get is red, itchy bumps, and will not need medical treatment.
It’s very common in men, who often get them around their neckline after shaving. This can be caused by shaving against the grain of the beard.
Men can also get ingrown hairs on other parts of their body that they regularly shave, such as their chests, armpits, backs and public regions. But of course, women can suffer from it as well.
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People with curly hair are also more likely to get ingrown hairs than people with straight hair.
Most of the time ingrown hairs are absolutely harmless and will go away by themselves, but on rare occasions, they can become infected.
Infected ingrown hairs can be very painful and can become pussy. The best course of action would be not to shave for a while to allow your skin to recover.
But if the ingrown hair or area around it becomes very painful, hot, red or swollen, you might want to visit your GP, especially if you also have a high temperature and feel hot, shivery or unwell, theNHSsays.
Doctors may have to resort to using a sterile needle or blade to release the trapped hair, and prescribe a steroid cream, antibiotic cream or tablets to treat the infection.
However, if an infected ingrown hair is left untreated, it can lead to other complications, which could potentially be deadly.
An ingrown hair could cause a staph infection, which could lead to sepsis if the infection enters the bloodstream.
TheWorld Health Organizationhas said that sepsis was responsible for one in five deaths worldwide. Although getting sepsis from a staph infection is highly unlikely, it is still possible.
Nonetheless, if a staph infection is not diagnosed and treated in time, it could result in hospitalisation and even needing to go under the knife.
In 2016, a 40-year-old man from Ohio revealed that he had temporarily died on the operating table during a 6-hour surgery following complications caused by an ingrown hair.
The ingrown hair led to a cyst developing on his leg over the course of three years, which left him in hospital for four months and in a coma.
He had to be sliced open from knee to groin after developing a flesh-eating bug known as necrotising fasciitis which caused his right leg to swell and double in size.
The man was resuscitated after losing consciousness and was lucky not to have his leg amputated, although 3.5 inches of infected fat and skin had to be removed.
While this is an extreme example of what can happen when an ingrown hair is left untreated, to avoid a similar fate, one should not delay in seeking medical attention if an ingrown hair triggers more severe symptoms.
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