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Common Infection Almost Took Woman’s Life (Photos)

Everyone has had strep throat at some point in their lives. It's never fun to go to the doctor and gag on that throat swab, but getting checked out and starting on antibiotics may save your life. Strep is such a common illness that many people think they can ignore it until their body fights it off and it goes away on its own; but as one Tennessee woman found out, strep can be deadly.

Shelby Smith, 27, lost six fingers and two toes after a battle with strep throat. Things got so bad, the young woman had to be put into a medically induced coma. She was lucky to survive the bug at all.

Smith thought she had an ordinary sore throat, but then she started to convulse. Her lips began turning blue. What she was experiencing was septic shock, a potentially deadly side effect of strep throat.

"Still in my mind I didn't think I was as sick as I really was," said Smith.

Smith was rushed to a hospital and things were so bad she was put into a medically induced coma. When she woke up a week later, she says she looked 'like something from out of a horror movie.'

Smith's fingers were becoming black and shriveled. The medication doctors needed to use to save her vital organs redirected blood flow from her extremities, causing many of her digits to die.

"This is one of the most life-threatening illnesses we see as far as a bacterial infection," said specialist Dr. Jeffry King, who notes there are a few hundred cases per year of strep throat gone wrong.

Six of Smith's fingers had to be amputated, as well as two of her toes. Her fiancé was there for the whole harrowing ordeal, and helped nurse her back to health. What Smith learned from the ordeal, besides giving more attention to seemingly minor illnesses, is that she picked the right person.

"Even when my heart tried to give out, you never let go of the hope that I would return," Smith wrote on Facebook to her fiancé. "I truly can't wait."

Source: MailOnline
Photo: WTAE/MailOnline

Woman loses fingers and toes from strep throat complications.

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