In early February, Jessica Jones was at work when her ankles started “feeling tight.”
Jones first suspected it to be spider bites, but when she visited her general practitioner, she was told the redness on her ankles was due to a common skin infection, cellulitis. According to the Mayo Clinic, cellulitis is a bacterial infection that most often affects the lower part the leg.
Jones was prescribed medication and sent on her way. By the next day, her condition had worsened. She described the pain and blistering to WVUE as “overwhelming.”Screenshot/WVUE
Understandably scared and concerned for her health, Jones paid a visit to the emergency room. There, doctors told her she had bullous pemphigoid, which is a rare skin condition associated with autoimmune disorders. The condition causes large, fluid-filled blisters to form on the body. Again, she was prescribed medication and creams.
And again, the treatment didn’t work.
The blisters on Jones’s feet and ankles continued to grow. Eventually, as WVUE reports, the blisters grew so big that Jones found herself unable to walk.
After two more hospital visits — and two more misdiagnoses — Jones was still in extreme pain. She told WVUE that there was a time she was genuinely concerned that doctors would have to amputate her feet.Screenshot/WVUE
After dealing with excruciating pain for weeks, she finally had enough. Jones called 911 and asked that an ambulance take her to a different hospital than the ones she had initially visited.
There, the doctor asked her:
Jones had in fact just purchased a new pair of Outwood sandals right before she started suffering from the pain and blisters. She told WVUE that when she first wore the scandals, they made the tops of her feet sore but that she “didn’t think anything of it.”
Doctors believe Jones had an allergic reaction to the chemical that was used to tan or dye the leather on the shoes and diagnosed her with contact dermatitis and second-degree chemical burns.
Once diagnosed, it all started to make sense to Jones — her hands had even started to get irritated when handling the shoes.Screenshot/WVUE
While the shoes were the reason behind her pain, Jones does not blame the shoe company for what happened to her:
“This was a freak thing that my skin reacted to.”
Dr. Robert Benson, a board-certified dermatologist, said contact dermatitis is very common but that Jones’s severe reaction was unusual.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the severity of a reaction can depend on how long a person is exposed to the chemical, environmental factors, and genetic makeup.Screenshot/WVUE
Symptoms of contact dermatitis include:
- Red rash or bumps
- Potentially severe itching
- Dry, cracked, scaly skin
- Blisters, fluid, and crusting
- Burning, swelling, tenderness
Jones stresses how important it is to “be cautious.” She is sharing her story so that no one goes through what she had to endure.
As doctors told WVUE, anyone can become allergic to anything at any time.