There are two very important lessons to take away from a recent article in The Journal of Emergency Medicine: 1) Don’t pop zits using a woodworking blade, and 2) Don’t wait seven months to seek medical help if your lower lip starts to resemble a puddle of moldy raspberries.
Unfortunately, a 23-year-old construction worker in Chicago did both those things. According to the case report, the man “snipped a ‘pimple’” with a knife meant for cutting lumber. After a lesion slowly grew on his lower lip for about half a year, he finally decided to go to the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, where doctors examined him and noticed the grotesque, Trypophobia-triggering mass of blood-encrusted warty bumps along his bottom lip.
If you’re curious and not eating anything, you can see the graphic image here.
Doctors discovered Blastomyces conidia growing from the lesion. According to the Center for Disease Control, the fungus lives in decomposing wood and wet soil, and people can get the flu-like symptoms of blastomycosis from breathing in spores.
But the report published by The Journal of Emergency Medicine last month states that there have only been 50 recorded cases this type of infection where Blastomyces enters through a skin wound—primary cutaneous blastomycosis. Most previous cases of cutaneous blastomycosis were found in morgue workers or people bitten by animals.
The man’s infection was cleared up in two weeks with the aid of anti-fungal medication. Medicine works wonders. But if you have acne, you don’t have to wait until a horror show develops on your face before seeking medical help. That questionable machete or shiv might look tempting, but you should probably go to a dermatologist instead.
Blastomycosis is an infection caused by a fungus called Blastomyces. The fungus lives in the environment, particularly in moist soil and in decomposing matter such as wood and leaves. Blastomyces mainly lives in areas of the United States and Canada surrounding the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys and the Great Lakes. People can get blastomycosis after breathing in the microscopic fungal spores from the air. Although most people who breathe in the spores don’t get sick, some of those who do may have flu-like symptoms, and the infection can sometimes become serious if it is not treated.