A Consultant Dermatologist at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Dr Uche Ojinmah, has asked parents to exercise caution in the use of beads in making children’s hair, noting that it could cause serious health issues.
The dermatologist warned that children may not only swallow the beads but could also put them inside their ear or nose, adding that such cases are already been seen in hospitals.
Some of such cases, he said, have been presented at the UNTH with recurrent ear pain, and pus in the ear, adding that some of the patients even went on to develop meningitis from the infection the bead caused in their ear and their parents are not aware.
Dr Ojinmah, who is the current President of the Nigerian Medical Association, stated this during an exclusive interview with PUNCH HealthWise.
He noted that mothers should start considering braiding their children’s hair without putting beads on them.
The dermatologist explained, “Women should braid their children’s hair and should not put beads when they braid the hair because it may easily slip into their ear and you may not know that the bead has gone into the ear.
“We have had cases of children presenting in UNTH with recurrent ear pain, pus in the ear and some even went on to develop meningitis from the infection the bead caused in the ear and people didn’t know.
“So, we discourage beads from children’s hair because it can go into the ear and they can also swallow it when they pull it from the hair.
“Braiding is good and should not be tight but should be without beads. Children can remove beads on their hair and put them inside their noses or ear.
“And when it is inside the nose or ear you will not know. It becomes what is called a foreign body and it becomes a centre for infection.
“We have had a case where my friend, who is an ear, nose and throat surgeon, had to remove a bead in the ear of a child which had been there for a long time.
“And this child developed an infection from there. The child developed an infection of the brain, the one we call meningitis and the parents never knew that the problem was a bead inside the child’s ear.
“Until they brought out that bead, the problem of the child could not be resolved.”
According to him, the child was having convulsions, fever, and headache.
“They may put the bead inside the nose and they will be having a smelly discharge. if you don’t go to check, you may not find out that bead is there. So, we do not encourage beads on the hair of children. Plain braiding is okay,” he said.
Dr Ojinmah also urged mothers to avoid applying strong relaxers to their children’s hair, saying it could lead to burns on the scalp and then damage the hair.