Audree Kopp is recovering from her infection (Images: WLKY.com)
Stop what you’re doing for a moment, look down at your wrists and tell us: how many hairbands are you wearing there right now?
While they’re destined for our ponytails, hair ties so often end up around our arms — whether it be for convenience or safekeeping (we’ll do literally anything to preserve that precious last band, no matter how threadbare it gets).
However, we’re seriously considering finding another storage spot for our hairbands after reading the story of Kentucky woman Audree Kopp. A fortnight ago, Kopp noticed a bump on her wrist that was rapidly growing bigger and redder, so she visited her doctor.
During her first appointment, she was given antibiotics. The second time around, she underwent emergency surgery.
“Thank God I caught it in time, or I could have had sepsis,” Kopp told US news channel WLKY. (Post continues after gallery. Warning: graphic images.)
As Dr Amit Gupta of Norton Healthcare explained, the bump was in fact a large abscess resulting from three types of infections. The surgery involved an incision and draining of the puss “all the way down”.
At this point in the story, you’ve probably put two and two together. If not, here’s the clincher: Dr Gupta believes the abcess was caused by bacteria from a sparkly ribbon-style hairband Kopp had been wearing around her wrist, which had entered her skin through her pores and hair follicles.
Right! Here we were thinking the worst thing a hairband could do to your wrist was leave a red mark or cut off a little bit of circulation.
By the sound of it, Kopp was equally stunned. “I didn’t believe it at first. I thought that it was a spider bite,” she told WLKY.
Watch: Maybe it’s time to embrace “rags” instead of hair ties? As you’ll see here, they’re actually very useful. (Post continues after video.)
Kopp now plans to ditch the glittery hairbands in favour of varieties that are easier to keep clean; however, Dr Gupta says it’s probably best to keep any kind of hair tie away from your wrists for your skin’s sake.
Hair bands – we hereby banish you to the bottom of our handbags.
While her experience was surely nightmare-worthy, Kopp’s keeping her eyes on the (glittery) silver lining.
“It could have been a whole different ballgame — once [the infection] gets into your bloodstream, people have been known to go into a coma, your body shuts down. It could have been way worse,” she said.
How many hairbands are you hoarding on your wrists right now?