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Latino boys, illness, and long hair?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I am not sure how to title this thread so I'll just explain. I'm a nurse in a childrens hospital with a large latino population in our area. I have had several latino little boy patients with long term syndromes and conditions and their hair is never cut, and is kept in many long braids, similar to cornrows but not along the scalp. Having grown up in this area I have never seen this in the general population, but have had more than a few of these chronic and sickly boys with this hairstyle. Is there a cultural meaning behind the hairstyle thats related to health? The parents are all pretty religious and also incorporate traditional practices into their childrens care such as warm and cool foods and not bathing when very ill and such.

 

post #2 of 3

You didn't mention where these families are from. Latino is a term used for anyone in Latin America. That's a huge area, but if I had to guess I would say the probability you are working with Mexican families is high because of where you are located. I was told by many indigenous women in the south of Mexico that you should not cut your baby's nails or hair because it makes the baby weak. It also prevents the baby from talking. I was told to trim DD's nails with my teeth. This book by Margaret Clark may interest you: Health in the Mexican-American Culture: A Community Study. 

 

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thank you! That makes a lot of sense! I am not sure what country they are from-- I just know if the are mainly or only Spanish speaking. I do agree that of the ones we do know about, many are from Mexico.

 

I will look up that book you listed. I know it will help me to be more sensitive and understanding to their needs.

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