A man in England is making headlines after revealing his medical condition, which left his eyes and mouth sealed shut and created blisters all over his body.
When Kevin Mannion got a sore throat in September 2016, he thought it was merely the flu, reports The Sun. But six days later, his fiancee, Tanya Jackson, went to kiss him and was horrified at what she saw.
"My heart broke at the sight of him," she explained, as quoted by the Daily Mail. "I never could have imagined a sore throat could be so dangerous. He looked horrific, he was trembling violently and blistered beyond recognition."
She described his gruesome appearance in further detail: "His blisters began to bubble and he developed reptile-like scales on his back," she said. "His eyelids became so swollen and puffy they looked like lips. His lips blackened and the skin inside and around his mouth blistered, then flaked off. And his mouth was so swollen shut with abscesses, I thought he was going to die."
Mannion was rushed to the hospital, where a doctor initially thought he had sepsis. However, a skin surgeon specialist eventually diagnosed him with a rare condition called Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
The Mayo Clinic summarizes the ailment on their site:
Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a rare, serious disorder of your skin and mucous membranes. It's usually a reaction to a medication or an infection. Often, it begins with flu-like symptoms, followed by a painful red or purplish rash that spreads and blisters. Then the top layer of the affected skin dies, sheds and then heals.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a medical emergency that usually requires hospitalization. Treatment focuses on eliminating the underlying cause, controlling symptoms and minimizing complications as your skin regrows.
Recovery after Stevens-Johnson syndrome can take weeks to months, depending on the severity of your condition. If it was caused by a medication, you'll need to permanently avoid that drug and others closely related to it.
Mannion spent a month in the hospital recovering, and then spent an additional month recuperating at home before he was able to return to his job.
Although the worst is now behind him, there are lingering effects from the ailment, including a cough, scarring on his back, and a "crackle" in his left lung.
In retrospect, Jackson summarizes the ordeal: "It was horrifying. The doctor's fears intensified our own. I assumed Kev was going to die. I honestly thought I'd lost him, but Kev is a fighter. I just hope that by sharing his story, it will raise awareness of this potentially deadly condition. Stevens-Johnson syndrome could have killed my Kev, but he was one of the lucky ones."
And it all began with a seemingly harmless sore throat.