A woman has issued a warning to other pedicure lovers after contracting an infection that almost cost her a leg.
Tracy Lynn Martinez, 35, went for a pampering session at her local salon in Winston Salem, North Carolina, on June 22.
By the next day, she had full-body chills, felt nauseous, and started vomiting. She tried to sleep it up but woke up feeling dizzy – then saw her leg had swelled to triple its size.
Martinez called an ambulance and doctors quickly diagnosed her with a severe case of cellulitis, likely developed from a strep infection from a ‘callus cutter’ used to slice rough skin off the balls of her feet.
After two weeks in hospital to stabilize her condition, Martinez is now being discharged – with a three-month course of medication and compression socks – and she is urging other people to beware a seemingly harmless pedicure.
Horrific incident: Tracy Lynn Martinez (right), 35, ended up in hospital after a pedicure
After two days of chills and vomiting, Martinez’s leg swelled so she couldn’t walk. She arrived at the hospital on June 24, and soon her infection worsened (pictured)
Doctors quickly diagnosed her with a severe case of cellulitis, likely developed from a strep infection from a ‘callus cutter’ used to slice rough skin off the balls of her feet
‘I just wanted to share my story to save someone from going [through] what I’m going through or even death,’ Martinez wrote in a Facebook that has since swept the internet.
She described the salon as ‘A grade’ which seemed ‘very clean’ with ‘very nice people’.
‘The whirlpool baths have the disposable bags, and they bring the new fresh tools in a new bag,’ she said – before adding that they ‘also bring a nice bacteria infected callus cutter too.’
Martinez said she now knows that ‘major chills’, as she felt, are a tell-tale warning sign of a strep or cellulitis infection after a pedicure.
At the time, she assumed she had come down with a cold. Despite vomiting, and feeling so dehydrated that she had to drink 23 bottles of water, Martinez tried to battle through.
Spreading the word: Martinez said she wanted to share her story to save someone from going through what she’s going through – or even same them from death
Without antibiotic treatment, cellulitis can be life-threatening and can require amputation
The infection can get into the bloodstream and the lymph nodes, leading to sepsis and even gangrene
Once she lost her balance, however, and her leg swelled up, she knew it was nothing minor.
‘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 the callus cutter,’ Martinez explained, sharing pictures of her swollen and blistering leg and foot.
Without antibiotic treatment, cellulitis can be life-threatening and can require amputation. The infection can get into the bloodstream and the lymph nodes, leading to sepsis and even gangrene.
‘I have been through hell, pain, shock, all of it…. But I want to raise awareness…. Say NO to the callus cutters/shavers,’ Martinez said.
Callus cutters are banned in North Carolina, as in many other states.
But even if they are available, you should avoid them, according to Dr Daniel Aires, the director of dermatology at The University of Kansas Health System.
‘It’s fine for a pedicurist to paint your nails or give you a massage, but would really be wary of having a sharp implement used on my skin by someone who isn’t a doctor,’ he told DailyMail.com.
Even if callus cutters or cuticle cutters are available, you should avoid them, according to Dr Daniel Aires, the director of dermatology at The University of Kansas Medical Center
‘It’s some variation on a knife. It’s a medical procedure that carries a risk of infection. In a dermatology clinic, we do use sharp tools to remove things but we clean it, and put on dressing.
‘If you do want to get rid of calluses, sanding them down is better than cutting it, definitely. Or, there are very safe creams over the counter which contain urea, a natural product.’
He also warns against getting rid of cuticles (‘they are like gums for your teeth, you do not want to get rid of them, especially with a sharp implement’).
Lastly, he warns that even if the salon seems clean, be wary that your skin is covered in bacteria that could cause your infection if you get cut. ‘It’s part of the jungle of the human flora. Our skin has bacteria on it, and that puts you at risk of infection.’
‘Not to sound like Cassandra,’ he says, referencing the daughter of the King of Troy who often predicted pain and suffering, ‘you could also be at risk of things like Hepatitis C and HIV, so it is not something to dismiss.’