Ending up in an emergency surgery due to an ingrown hair? Floris (21) tells his story about the consequences of the corona measures

Ending up in an emergency surgery due to an ingrown hair? Floris (21) tells his story about the consequences of the corona measures

Floris Bos trying to make an appointment with a doctor. Picture: Anouk de Kruijff

One of the many measures taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus included restricting physical visits to a general practitioner or specialist. The reason was that people who were infected with the coronavirus visit the doctor and then might infect others. But what about the people who were sick, which wasn’t due to the corona virus? Floris Bos (21) shares his experiences on the influence of the corona measures on his hair cyste.

What is a hair cyst and how do you get it?

It is a condition that occurs in or near the buttock because hairs break off and a cavity forms around them. ‘’You don’t just catch it, you are often predisposed to it. Which was the case with me, also as I am a man with a lot of body hair’’, says Bos. Therefore, this condition is not common under women and children.

The pressure on care at an international level

Worldwide, the corona pandemic put a lot of pressure on healthcare. For example, there was a shortage of healthcare employees throughout Europe and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) was overloaded.

Source: EUROPEAN DATA PORTAL – COVID-19: ICU beds use and capacity

What are the waiting times due to the corona pandemic?

On average, it takes about two months before a patient can be admitted to hospital, due to the pressure on the healthcare system and the measures that have been taken. According to Nederlandse Zorg Autoriteit- spokesperson Erik Bloem, this will not change in the coming period and: ‘the pressure on care – although reduced – is still high’. Bos’ experience was similar: ‘When I noticed what appeared to be a harmless ingrown hair, I wanted to make an appointment with my general practitioner to have it checked. I had to make an appointment online and couldn’t go because I’d had a cold in the previous week. They gave me the option to video call, but since my hair cyst was in quite a private place, I didn’t feel comfortable to video call.”

”A few weeks later, the lump grew larger and caused painful symptoms. The dermatologist in the hospital was completely unreachable. I got no further than the reception desk who told me that all treatments without urgency were being postponed.”

What are the consequences of the long waiting time and inaccessibility of care?

If left untreated, a hair cyst is likely to become infected. This report describes these drastic consequences. In the short term, your body temperature will rise, something that Bos also experienced. If the infection is not treated, it can mutate and, in the worst case, develop into cancer. Your immune system will also suffer a lot, with all the associated consequences. Bos says the following about this: ‘’After a dermatology nurse had looked at it, it was clear that the ingrown hair had become infected at the inside. It was now an infected hair nest cyst and had to be removed as quickly as possible. This is because an internal infection is dangerous if it comes into contact with the bloodstream.’’

Unlike many others, I was not afraid of corona, but of the consequences of an ingrown hair. – Floris Bos

Bos shares these experiences with many other patients whose treatments have been postponed and which have led to aggravation of the disease.

How did you end up being helped?

”I became ill; I got a fever and this in combination with the lump could not be good. My mother works in a hospital in The Hague and was able to get a nurse from the dermatology department to take a look at my ingrown hair. It was immediately clear that at that moment I was also an emergency case. This led to me being operated under general anaesthetic within two weeks and the hair cyst being removed.’’

There is speculation that corona is on its way out, and more and more measures are being abolished throughout Europe. Nevertheless, corona will continue to play a role in daily life for a long time and there will still be plenty of patients who cannot be helped, or can be helped later, as a result of the corona pandemic. Bos states: ”Keep urging your general practitioner or specialist. Because complaints that are not corona related must also be taken seriously. Before it is too late.”

The queues at hospitals. Picture: Anouk de Kruijff

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