Bacteria from a Hair Tie Nearly Causes Woman Sepsis

Bacteria from a Hair Tie Nearly Causes Woman Sepsis
Science & Medicine

Admit it ladies, you probably wear a hair tie on your wrist all the time. You might want to rethink that, though. It seems that keeping one on your arm in case it gets hot or you get tired of pushing your hair out of your face could give you a raging infection.

Audree Kopp made that mistake once; she’ll probably never make it again. About 2 weeks ago, the Louisville, Kentucky woman discovered a bump on her wrist. As people tend to do, she ignored it at first, thinking it was just a bug bite. She was busy with relocating her house and didn’t have time to worry about it.

When it became increasingly uncomfortable, her doctor prescribed antibiotics, but the drugs didn’t work. The bump got bigger and felt hot to the touch, so she was referred to the ER, where she was informed the pus-filled growth was an infection, and if she didn’t have surgery, she could develop sepsis. [1]

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) says on its website that sepsis is “the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection which can lead to tissue damage.” It can occur even after a minor infection, and is difficult to diagnose and treat. More than 1 million people develop sepsis each year and up to half of those people die.

“I didn’t believe it at first,” Kopp told WLKY. “I thought that it was a spider bite, or something else, not from wearing hair-ties.” [2]

Doctors had to cut through the bump and drain the pus to prevent the bacteria from spreading. Three types of bacteria had infected her wrist. They also figured out what likely caused the infection: the glittery hair ties she kept on her wrist just in case she wanted to elevate her tresses. They explained to Kopp that bacteria on hairbands can easily transfer to the wrist and into the blood stream through skin pores. [3]

Dr. Amit Gupta, one of the doctors who treated Kopp at the hospital, warns: “Be careful when you put these hair ties around the wrist particularly because it can cause problems with the skin and it can cause infection.”

Kopp said in a Facebook post:

“I want to inform everyone to make sure no one else has to go thru (sic) this.

“The glitter tie is the one that caused this issue.

“It rubbed a tiny scratch on my wrist, and the bacteria from the tie jumped in, causing a life-threatening bacterial infection.

“I was admitted to the ER, transported by ambulance to another hospital for emergency surgery.

“My white cell count was thru (sic) the roof, and I was lucky to have not had sepsis.”

Dr. Amit Gupta, one of the medical team who treated Ms. Kopp, also warned people to be careful when wearing hairbands around their wrists.

He told WLKY News: “Be careful, you can’t put all these hair ties around wrists, they can cause problems with the skin, with infections.”

Kopp has a gaping wound on her wrist, but she is recovering.

“It could have been a whole different ballgame, once it gets into your bloodstream, people have been known to go into a coma, your body shuts down it could have been way worse,” she said.

It may take a while for the Internet to recover from the images of her wound.


[1] Daily Mail

[2] WLKY

[3] The Huffington Post UK