Boy develops a horrific ringworm infection after getting a trendy fade haircut at a busy barbershop

EXCLUSIVE: Boy develops a horrific ringworm infection after getting a trendy fade haircut at a busy barbershop

  • A woman says her son developed ringworm after visiting a Sydney barber shop
  • The 11-year-old went to the store to get a fade cut on September 4 – his  birthday
  • She says a rash broke out on his head a few days later leaving him embarrassed
  • She said she called them and was told she was the third person to complain
  • She is now warning other parents to beware of sanitisation practises at barbers  

A mother claims her son developed a nasty case of ringworm after visiting a barbershop, as she issues a warning to other parents to be aware of poor sanitisation practices.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, took her 11-year-old son to the store in Sydney on September 4 to get a fade haircut for his birthday, a style where the sides are shaved short, and length is left on top.

But she claims a few days later, the fungal skin infection – which causes a rash and itchiness, appeared on the back of his head where the barber had used the clippers.

The mother said she called the store to report what had happened and was told by a member of staff she was the third person who had rung that day with the same complaint.

‘I was shocked by their cavalier attitude,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

‘It was the worst case of ringworm I’d ever seen.

‘It wasn’t a hole-in-the-wall place. It’s a franchise store located in a few locations.

A mother says her 11-year-old son developed ringworm on the back of his head after visiting a barber shop in Sydney. Pictured: The fungal infection seven days after he visited the store

A mother says her 11-year-old son developed ringworm on the back of his head after visiting a barber shop in Sydney. Pictured: The fungal infection seven days after he visited the store  

‘I feel angered about the blatant disregard for their responsibilities to have proper and appropriate infection control mechanisms in place.’ 

The mother said the salon only seemed mildly apologetic, did not offer a refund, and told her it was an issue faced by many barbers due to clippers not being adequately sanitised. 

While the ringworm has started to clear after seeking doctor’s treatment, she said the incident was extremely distressing for her son.

‘He was embarrassed beyond belief,’ she said.

‘It was also uncomfortable for him.

‘I’ll be getting clippers and doing the fades myself now.’

The mother contacted NSW Health, who told her barbershops were not within their jurisdiction but advised her to report the matter to City of Sydney Council.

She said she has been told to report the matter to WorkCover NSW and will be lodging a complaint.

The mother shared a photo of the back of her son’s scalp covered in red scaly bumps on Facebook this week to alert other parents to be wary of hygiene practices.

The post, which has garnered more than 200 reactions, was flooded with comments from other parents reporting similar experiences.

‘My son had this happen to him too,’ one mother said.

‘It took a while to get rid of and turned into kerion (pus-filled sores). It’s been two years now, and his hair is still very patchy in those areas.’

Pictured: A stock image of a man getting a hair cut at a barber shop

Pictured: A stock image of a man getting a hair cut at a barber shop 

Pictured: Trichophyton mentagrophytes, the cause of athletes foot (tinea pedis) and scalp ringworm (tinea capitus)

Pictured: Trichophyton mentagrophytes, the cause of athletes foot (tinea pedis) and scalp ringworm (tinea capitus)

Another added: ‘My son had the same issue. It took six months to get rid of it.’

The mother told Daily Mail Australia said she wants to raise awareness about the importance of asking barbers if they have disinfected their equipment.

‘When we went, it was Father’s Day. Our boy was one of probably tens of kids who had clippers used on them that day who now have an unsightly and highly contagious skin infection as a result,’ she said.

‘It’s a pretty dire situation, particularly when we’ve just come out of a pandemic and infection control should be at the height of everyone’s mind.

‘I think they have failed in their duty of care.’

The barbershop manager told Daily Mail Australia the two other cases were not in his store, but from previous incidents in Queensland.

He said he apologised and thanked the mother for bringing it up so employees could be more cautious about the issue.

The boy reported to his mother his head was feeling irritated the day after the haircut before red bumps started to appear. Pictured: Day one after the hair cut

Pictured: Red bumps started to appear by day three

The boy reported to his mother his head was feeling irritated the day after the haircut before red bumps started to appear 

‘It hasn’t happened just now. It has been happening for years. It is very common in barber shops,’ he said.

‘It is not only sanitisation, it is a fungi. It comes from cats and dogs, but people might have it and then when you cut another customer’s hair it ends up on the machines.’

The manager said his workers’ clean equipment every morning and in between customers.

He said given the infectious nature of ringworm, and it’s ability to come from multiple sources, such as animals, they could not ascertain where he caught it.

‘[The sanitisation] should kill the fungus. Ringworms don’t occur only from the machines,’ he said.

‘How do we know it came from here? He could of already had it. There are times when it takes weeks for it to develop.’

WHAT IS RINGWORM?

Ringworm is an itchy circular rash caused by a fungal infection

It often spreads by direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or animal

Mild ringworm often responds to antifungal medications applied to the skin, however, more severe infections may require the use of antifungal pills for several weeks

Symptoms include itchiness, a scaly ring-shaped area, scattering of bumps which range in colour from red on white skin, to reddish, purplish, brown or gray on black and brown skin,  slightly raised expanding rings, a round flat patch of itchy skin, or overlapping rings

Source: Mayo Clinic 

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