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Woman's Pedicure Infection Nearly Led To Leg Amputation

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Tracy Martinez said that she almost lost her leg when she contracted skin infection during a pedicure. The North Carolina woman now warns others about the dangers of a pedicure tool responsible for her infection.

Cellulitis

Martinez claimed that she visited what she described as a clean salon for a pedicure on June 22. The following day, however, she became ill and suffered from chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Her condition got worse as she had a swollen leg and she was walking off balance. She eventually had to be taken by an ambulance to a local hospital, where she learned she had a serious infection.

Doctors told Martinez that she had a serious case of cellulitis, a bacterial infection that can spread to the lymph nodes and bloodstream and can rapidly become life-threatening.

The condition occurs when bacteria such as streptococcus and staphylococcus enter through a break in the skin. Symptoms include swelling, tenderness, pain, blisters, and red spots.

Callus Cutter

Doctors said that Martinez may have contracted infection after she was minorly cut by a callus cutter. The tool is used to remove dead skin from heels and feet.

A callus cutter was used during her pedicure at the unidentified salon. Martinez learned too late that callus cutters are actually prohibited by North Carolina's Board of Cosmetics. She said she was not aware of this until after she had spent two weeks at the hospital because of the infection.

"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," shared Mona Gohara, a dermatologist who works as an assistant clinical professor at Yale University. "I never let them use instruments on me when I get a pedicure for this very reason; it's too risky."

Still Recuperating

Martinez is lucky that doctors were able to save her life and her leg. Martinez will still be on medication for the next three months. She also needs to wear a compression stocking on the infected leg to prevent potential infections.

The 35-year-old now warns others about the potential danger of using callus cutters, saying that there is no way to properly disinfect it to be continually used on people.

"I have been through hell, pain, shock, all of it.... But I want to raise awareness," Martinez said. "I no longer recommend pedicures but definitely say NO to these callus shavers if you do go."

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