In case you were starting to get too comfortable in life, here’s a quick, to-the-point reminder of the fact that everything is out to get you: A Kentucky woman nearly died from a life-threatening infection caused by the bacteria from the hair tie she regularly wore around her wrist.
“I didn’t believe it at first,” Audree Kopp told CBS Philadelphia. “I thought it was a spider bite or something else, not from wearing hair ties.” But the bump, she said, “just kept getting bigger and redder and worse,” even after her doctor prescribed antibiotics.
Dr. Amit Gupta of Norton Healthcare explained to CBS that the bacteria from the hair tie likely penetrated Kopp’s skin through her pores and hair follicles, where the infection then worsened. If she’d waited any longer before making a break for the ER, she could have developed sepsis as the infection passed into her bloodstream. Ouch. (Also, gag.)
Before you write Kopp’s story off as a freak incident, give the situation some thought: Wearing a hair tie around your wrist all the time gives the fabric plenty of opportunities to develop bacteria, especially if it’s too tight to your skin. To help you avoid a similar dilemma, doctors advise trading out regular elastic hair bands for plastic no-slip versions and always, always washing the tie and your wrist each time you wash your hands. You learn something new—and find something new to worry about—every day.