A mother has warned against the dangers of a rare condition that affects babies after a strand of hair nearly caused her five-month-old son to lose his toe.
Sara Ward, 39, from St. Louis, Missouri, shared her story in a Facebook post last month, explaining that she had to take her baby boy, Logan, to the emergency room after he developed hair tourniquet syndrome.
The condition occurs when a hair or thread becomes tightly tied to a finger, toe, or genitals and cuts off circulation, potentially leading to infection and amputation.
‘This was my first time and even with being a third-time parent, I was not aware of this beforehand,’ the mother of three told Good Morning America.
Sara Ward, 39, from St. Louis, Missouri, revealed in a Facebook post that her five-month-old son, Logan, nearly lost his toe after developing hair tourniquet syndrome
A strand of hair had wrapped around the third toe on his right foot and started cutting off his circulation
‘I had never seen this or this [had] never come up with any of my friends or family members that are moms. So I was definitely kind of in the dark on just how severe this can be.’
In Ward’s post, she shared that she and her husband ‘noticed a line going across Logan’s toe and some redness’ on Saturday, January 22, but they didn’t think much of it.
By Monday, his toe still hadn’t improved, so they took him to see his pediatrician. They were in the doctor’s office when they first learned of hair tourniquet syndrome.
Ward told GMA that the doctor and nurses spent about 40 minutes trying to remove the hair that was wrapped around the third toe on his right foot.
Ward explained that she and her husband ‘noticed a line going across Logan’s toe and some redness’ on Saturday, January 22, but they didn’t think anything of it at first
By Monday, his toe still hadn’t improved, so they took him to see his pediatrician. They were in the doctor’s office when they first learned of hair tourniquet syndrome
‘They took a look and they had to use all these kinds of special instruments. They brought in these magnifying goggles and special lights and they had these long tweezers and like little scalpels,’ she recalled.
‘They were going in there and they could not get it either. I mean they were able to get one small piece of it, but they did not feel confident that they got it.’
Ward and her husband were sent home with orders to monitor Logan’s condition. Within hours, they noticed his toe was swelling and appeared to be turning purple.
This time, they took him to an urgent care center and were advised to go straight to the emergency room at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, where Logan was admitted overnight.
After Logan’s doctor failed to remove the hair, she took him to urgent care and then the emergency room at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital
Doctors were considering surgery when Logan’s condition started to improve
Ward wrote in her post that a total of 12 nurse practitioners, pediatricians, and surgeons attempted to find the hair using tweezers, scalpels, magnifying goggles, and special lights.
She said they even used Nair — a depilatory cream for hair removal — to try to break down the strand of hair.
On Tuesday, the day after Logan was admitted to the hospital, doctors told Ward and her husband that they were considering surgery to remove the hair.
The mom explained to GMA that she didn’t understand the potential dangers of the situation at first because she thought the process of removing the hair would be an ‘easy fix.’
Ward told Good Morning America that it took about a week for Logan’s toe to ‘fully look back to normal’ after he was treated for the rare condition
Three weeks later, Logan is fully recovered, and his parents are feeling ‘very lucky’
‘I think that’s where a lot of people don’t understand the severity that these hair tourniquets can cause and that it can get to that point,’ she said.
Ward isn’t sure what exactly changed, but Logan’s condition began to improve, and they were able to avoid surgery at the last minute.
‘Many of you might be thinking, it’s just a hair, why is it so difficult to get? I know I thought that,’ she wrote in her post. ‘But the hair strand can wrap so tightly around the limb and then it begins swelling and constricting the area.
‘The skin starts to form over the hair and it gets embedded so deep into the tissues. It makes it impossible to see.’
WHAT IS HAIR TOURNIQUET SYNDROME?
Hair tourniquet syndrome is a medical condition where a hair or thread becomes tightly tied to a finger, toe or genitals, cutting off circulation and potentially leading to infection and amputation.
The problem usually affects young babies and is most common when mothers are shedding hair post-pregnancy.
The hair can become trapped in blankets, socks, or sleepsuits and wrap around the appendage.
The hair is often so thin it can be easily missed by parents — and doctors.
It is identified with magnification and cut away, usually with small scissors.
Sometimes surgery is required to remove the ligature. Antibiotics may be prescribed for any infection.
She added that having a ‘screaming, kicking baby’ makes removing the hair ’10 times more difficult.’ She also noted that they aren’t sure how this happened in the first place.
‘The medical team speculated there was just a random piece of hair in his pajamas that started to get caught on his toe. Then with all his kicking, it just wraps around the toe and begins restricting blood flow,’ she explained.
‘While Logan’s case was extreme, we were very lucky that we were able to save the
Ward ended her post by warning parents to check their babies’ toes and fingers for hairs or strings.
‘If you see one wrapped around them, try to remove it as soon as you can,’ she advised. ‘If you can’t and the redness is worse, see your pediatrician right away.’
Ward told GMA that it took about a week for Logan’s toe to ‘fully look back to normal,’ saying he has fully recovered three weeks after the scare.