When a young Texas girl became bothered by a “pimple” forming underneath her skin, she decided to pop it to alleviate her discomfort. However, within an hour, her entire face swelled up and she was headed for the emergency room. Then, the situation went from bad to worse when the 21-year-old nearly died after finding out what her annoying “pimple” really was.
You’ve probably been told not to pick at pimples, but if you’re like most people, you do it anyway. It’s just too tempting when that little bump is staring you in the face and you can feel that nagging pain underneath the skin. What’s the harm in popping that annoying little white head, anyway?
Well, 21-year-old Katie Wright found out the hard way that you should never pick at your pimples after she nearly died for doing just that. Katie was forced to spend days in the hospital after she tried to pop what she thought was a pimple on her face.
Please spread the word so no one else goes through this 😭 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Hk6H9rT9Fq
— Glow Goal ✨ (@GlowGoal) July 30, 2017
“A week ago I decided to pick at what I thought was a giant under the skin pimple because it had been hurting for a while and got too painful to ignore,” Katie wrote online, according to God Fitting. “Within an hour my entire face swelled up and HURT…I went to the emergency room and they said it was a very serious case of Cellulitis, which is a version of staph infection…Since it was on my face, there was a huge risk of it spreading to my brain or my eyes causing me to go blind,” she added.
Cellulitis is a deep infection of the skin caused by bacteria. It usually affects the arms and legs. It can also develop around the eyes, mouth, and anus, or on the belly. Normal skin can be affected by cellulitis, but it usually happens after some type of injury causes a skin break, including trauma or surgery. Once the skin breaks, bacteria can enter and cause infection. [Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine]
“The pressure and heat was unbearable,” Katie recalled of her cellulitis scare. “Imagine a hot coal trying to burst out of your skin, that’s what it felt like.” While the pain associated with her ordeal certainly sounds horrific, it’s nothing compared to some of the other side effects of cellulitis, which, in extreme cases, can even lead to death.
the swelling difference from the Staph pic.twitter.com/elXbLnhLfG
— katie (@katiewright) August 8, 2017
According to Dr. Jessica Krant, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the State University of New York’s Downstate Medical Center, cellulitis can be fatal if the infection spreads. “Once the infection crosses from skin into the bloodstream, or along tissue layers that reach deep, it can get into the eye socket, brain, sinuses, joints or bones,” said Krant.
“In these areas, infections can be hard to treat and cause a lot of damage,” she added. Not only this, but cellulitis is often mistaken for a common pimple, just like in Katie Wright’s case. “Cellulitis is not always easy to recognize,” said Krant. “For this reason is it often under-diagnosed, or even over-diagnosed, by many health care providers. What’s important to know is to maintain a high level of suspicion if there is an unusually deep or painful swelling, especially anywhere on the face,” she stated.
What Wright assumed was a pimple actually ended up being a case of cellulitis, a staph infection where deeper tissues beyond the surface layer of the skin are affected that can, in severe cases, lead to organ failure or even death.
Thankfully, after going to the hospital and receiving treatment for four days, Wright’s doctors were able to heal the infection. [Source: HuffPost]
Because cellulitis is usually caused by bacteria entering the system through a skin break, like the kind created by popping a pimple, it’s best not to pick at your face when you feel one forming, difficult as that may be.
Instead, you can apply heat to the area in order to gently steam a pimple, loosening up what lies beneath the surface of your skin. Over-the-counter topical ointments or something a little stronger prescribed by your dermatologist can also be effective.
Katie believes her infection resulted from dirty makeup brushes and tools she was using and is urging other women not to make the same mistake. “If you take one thing away from this, please see how crucial it is to thoroughly wash your brushes and tools,” Katie said. “I urge everyone to take an extra step in your cleaning routine to prevent yourself from a horrifying, painful and potentially life threatening infection,” she added.
— katie (@katiewright) August 8, 2017
Katie has started a GoFundMe page to help with the medical costs she incurred during her stay in the hospital. Unfortunately, her mistake was a costly one. Please share Katie’s story to warn others about cellulitis and the dangers associated with it.