A WOMAN has told how she almost died after using hand sanitizer that peeled off her skin and caused her hair to fall out.
Lauren Rigby, 22, says she has been left “looking like a monster” after receiving an extreme reaction to antibacterial gel.
Lauren, from Australia, had been out shopping with her mother at the beginning of the pandemic when she was forced to use the store’s hand alcohol.
She told 9Nu: “They said please use hand alcohol so I just put on a little and it started to burn.
“I asked Mom, ‘Are your hands burning?’ She said, ‘No.’
When they got home, Lauren noticed that she had developed a rash on all hands.
She soon found out she had eczema – but did not think much about why it had appeared.
Shortly after more excursions, she realized that the antibacterial substances used in shops and restaurants were the cause.
She explained: “I started noticing in the stores that they sprayed disinfectants, even on the clothes, and then I noticed that my body was covered in rashes after trying on clothes.”
Her body began to get an extreme reaction with the skin peeling off and even her hair began to fall out.
She added: “I was so swollen that if you touched my arm it would leave a dent and my skin would peel off in piles that we had to vacuum up.”
A few weeks later, Lauren was taken to a hospital where she was told that her eczema had triggered a genetic condition called Erythroderma.
Lauren, who is training to be a veterinary nurse, said: “How can something so small change my life.
“I have never used hand alcohol this year and will never use it again.”
Now. one year after. Lauren has to bathe her skin every day to soothe her skin – but the medicine is finally helping to get it under control.
And Lauren’s condition is not uncommon, as doctors say there has been an explosion of people seeking help during the pandemic.
Melanie Funk from Eczema Support Australia said: “Certain hand eczema and facial eczema increase with pandemic measures.
“It’s important to remember that eczema can affect all parts of your life and all parts of your body, it can be impressive.
“You should not suffer in silence, there are others who understand, receive support, receive help, receive treatment.”
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