Facial hair increases the risk of burns for people who use home oxygen therapy, a new study warns.

Researchers compared a mannequin with a mustache made from human hair and a mannequin without facial hair. They drilled nostrils in the mannequins and inserted nasal tubes that were connected to a home oxygen tank. The oxygen flow was set at two liters a minute, which is similar to the level used in home oxygen therapy. When the mannequins were exposed to sparks, the oxygen tubes on the one with facial hair ignited and the mustache went up in flames. The oxygen tubes on the mannequin without facial hair did not ignite.

Patients in such cases “can have very bad facial burns and airway burns also,” study senior author Dr. Andrew Greenlund said in a Mayo news release. “When fire burns the airway, then you have swelling and tissue death. It can be very dangerous.”

The study was recent published in the journal “Mayo Clinic Proceedings”. More than 1 million Americans use home oxygen therapy, and doctors need to warn patients about the burn risk associated with facial hair, the researchers said.

Source: Health Day

Share this page!