Her life was in hot water.
Taylor Bryant thought a Jacuzzi jaunt down to Dolly Parton’s homeland would yield fond memories of hot tubs and hikes — instead she was left with a life-threatening skin condition that nearly rotted her right leg.
“Our first family vacation — what kind of luck is this?” the 26-year-old mother of two from Indianapolis, Ind., tells WISH-TV News 8.
Within a few days of Bryant’s relaxing trip to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., in March, she felt unwell. The pain in her leg quickly became unbearable, and soon Bryant was struggling to walk. A local urgent care clinic prescribed a 10-day course of antibiotics to treat the mysteriously inflamed limb — but her condition continued to deteriorate.
“I would say [the pain was] worse than labor,” she says. “I don’t know what could be worse than that.”
Her leg was swollen and blistering — a rash creeping ever higher up — and her skin turning black and falling off. She finally went to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with pseudomonas folliculitis — a common skin infection which can become lethal if untreated.
Docs suspected she got the infection from hot-tubbing her vacation away.
“Every night, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, we were in the hot tub and [my doctor] was like, ‘That’s the only way I thought you could get this infection was from a hot tub,’ ” Bryant tells RTV6, her local ABC affiliate.
An infectious disease specialist told her amputation was a possibility — but after two weeks on IV antibiotics, she was able to fight off the infection. She is walking again but still gets emotional when recalling the pain of the experience.
“At first I was thankful to have my leg,” Bryant says of the ordeal, “but more so, thankful to be alive.”
Folliculitis is so frequently contracted in bubbling, heated pools that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dubbed it “Hot Tub Rash,” or an infection of hair follicles marked by puss-filled pimples, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Bryant says her specialist told her a common grooming activity clears the way for it to enter your body: “When you shave your legs you are breaking skin so that’s opening areas on your legs.”
To protect life and limb, experts recommend removing swimsuits and showering soon after taking a soak.