A North Carolina woman who had a pedicure at a “grade A salon” says she almost lost her leg to a severe strep infection that set in because of dirty pedicure tools.
Tracy Lynn Martinez, 35, went to a local salon in Winston Salem, North Carolina on June 22 for a pedicure. But by the next day she was experiencing full-body chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Thinking she came down with a virus, Ms. Martinez tried to sleep at first but when her leg swelled to three times its normal size, she knew she was in danger, according to the Daily Mail.
“I am ambulanced to the Emergency Room to find out I am toxic and have a serious case of cellulitis caused by a strep infection in my blood stream caused by the scrapes on the outside of my heel from the callus cutter,” Martinez explained in a Facebook post with pictures that has since been shared thousands of times.
Ms. Martinez’s infection was so quick and so severe that she spent the next two weeks in the hospital while doctors worked to eliminate the infection. In a sense, Ms. Martinez is fortunate. Patients who develop severe cases of cellulitis sometimes have to undergo an amputation of the infected limb to save their life. That usually happens when the infection gets into the bloodstream, leading to gangrene or sepsis.
Ms. Martinez’s body responded to the steady stream of antibiotics that doctors put her on and her leg was spared from amputation.
“I have been through hell, pain, shock, all of it … But I want to raise awareness … Say NO to the callus cutters/shavers,’ Ms. Martinez said, referring to the tools pedicurists use to cut rough skin from the heels and balls of feet. Callus cutters are banned in several states, including North Carolina, for the risk of infection.
Still, some pedicurists and salons will use them anyway. In such cases, the customer should refuse them.
“When the skin is compromised even a bit — like with a minor scrape — it is very easy for bacteria to creep in and wreak havoc,” dermatologist Mona Gohara, an assistant clinical professor at Yale University, told Marie Claire. “I never let them use instruments on me when I get a pedicure for this very reason; it’s too risky.”
According to Greensboro. North Carolina’s WFMY Channel 2, Ms. Martinez remains on a three-month cycle of antibiotics, but she will have to take one prescription drug for the rest of her life. She will also have to wear a compression stocking every day to prevent another infection from happening.