Hairs blamed for Northumberland barber's nose collapse
A Northumberland barber has told how she had surgery to rebuild her nose after years of breathing in tiny hairs.
Edwina Phillipson, 51, said scratching inside her nose to try to relieve the discomfort from the hairs led to an open wound which became infected.
She had an operation to rebuild her septum using cartilage from her ear.
She stressed her problems were caused by the tiny hairs she was exposed to and is urging others to wear masks to protect themselves.
Mrs Phillipson runs her own barber's shop in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. She has been cutting hair for 35 years and worked as a barber for 25 years.
She said the problems started about 12 years ago and said she had the hole in her nose for about three years.
"When you have the soreness in your nose you tend to scratch and pick to try and get the hairs out which results in you creating an open wound.
"I created an open wound up my nose in the effort to try and get these hairs out."
She said it was barbering rather than hairdressing which had caused problems because of the size of the hairs and the close proximity.
Her operation was carried out at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital and she is at home recovering.
Mrs Phillipson now wears a surgical mask when she is barbering and urged employers and employees to take her warning on board.
She said: "Had someone told me when I was a youngster, then I would have made sure that it wouldn't have happened to me."
She said she would like to see barbers joining other professions like doctors, dentists and beauty therapists in wearing masks at work.
"This is something that needs to be highlighted. I refuse to believe that I am the only barber to have this problem."