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  #1  
Old 09-15-2004, 01:21 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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Why did people cut their hair when they were sick?

You always read in books about women who, when they were sick with a long illness, especially a fever, usually "lost her hair", either it felt out, or they cut it all off. Even for other things-I remember when reading about the Romanovs, that all the children had their heads shaved when they caught the measles, and that one of the daughters, Tatiana had her hair cut extra short after a bout of food poisoning.

What gives? Can fever really make one's hair fall out? Why cut it? (unless it's to make it more even when it grows back)

Or was this just another silly old fishtale?
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  #2  
Old 09-15-2004, 01:29 PM
cmkeller cmkeller is offline
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WAG: shaving thick hair off the head would help to cool off someone with a fever.
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  #3  
Old 09-15-2004, 01:50 PM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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Another WAG- if you're lying in bed for a long period of time, some types of long hair tends to get matted (I think wavy or curly hair is more likely to mat, but I'd guess straight hair could do it too). If it's not combed or brushed for weeks or months, it can end up having to be cut off to get rid of the mats.

It could make a lot of sense to cut off long hair for a prolonged illness involving vomiting (like a long bout of food poisoning). There are worse things than lying in bed with vomit in your hair, but there aren't that many of them... You might not have the strength to wash long hair if you were really sick.
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  #4  
Old 09-15-2004, 02:04 PM
vetbridge vetbridge is offline
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Yes, fever can (along with pregnancy and many other things) cause hair loss. This is called telogen effluvium. From http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH...339/10836.html

[qoute]Telogen effluvium can be triggered by a number of different events, including:

* Surgery
* Major physical trauma
* Major psychological stress
* High fever or severe infection
* Extreme weight loss
* Extreme change in diet
* Abrupt hormonal changes, including those associated with childbirth and menopause
* Iron deficiency
* Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
* A new medication[/quote]
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  #5  
Old 09-15-2004, 02:09 PM
vetbridge vetbridge is offline
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Grrr...how can someone spell telogen effluvium just fine and then f*ck up quote?
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  #6  
Old 09-15-2004, 02:44 PM
furlibusea furlibusea is offline
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I remember reading somewhere that they believed hair strapped strength so cutting it was supposed to help them get the strength to recover.
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  #7  
Old 09-15-2004, 05:54 PM
Misnomer Misnomer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furlibusea
I remember reading somewhere that they believed hair strapped strength so cutting it was supposed to help them get the strength to recover.
Interesting, considering the Samson story. I wonder if the old hair/strength theories varied depending on the sex of the person in question?
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  #8  
Old 09-15-2004, 09:36 PM
Sublight Sublight is offline
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When I was about to go into the hospital, I cut my hair really short so that I wouldn't have to deal with a month's worth of sweaty bed-head, not to mention the fact that I wouldn't be able to wash it for at least a few weeks. If I thought I were going to be laid up with a long, probably messy, illness, cutting my hair would probably be a good way to make life more comfortable.
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  #9  
Old 09-16-2004, 12:49 AM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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I also had always heard that it was because long hair sapped the strength.
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  #10  
Old 09-16-2004, 08:18 AM
Frank #2 Frank #2 is offline
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WAG: Large amounts of hair not being washed due to bedriddenness (new word?)could be a nice home to lice. Cutting most of the hair away may reduce the chances of contracting lice.
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