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A woman has gone viral on TikTok for sharing a painful infection that developed after testing positive for COVID-19.
Earlier this month, Avery Anderson shared a video of herself on the way to the emergency room with open sores around her lips and mouth. The video, which gained more than 16.7 million views, ended with Anderson laying in a hospital bed after being given morphine for her pain.
In a now deleted follow-up video, Anderson explained that she was taking the acne medication Accutane when she contracted COVID-19. Reportedly, the "perfect mix" of Accutane and Anderson's weakened immune system due to COVID may have contributed to her developing multiple other infections that resulted in her painful mouth sores.
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Anderson went into further detail, revealing she was initially diagnosed with impetigo, after spotting some discolouration on her lips shortly after testing positive for COVID.
"I was on my fourth month of Accutane and noticed my lips had a purple and yellow tint, so I went straight to urgent care, and they diagnosed me with impetigo and prescribed me a topical medication to help," she recalled.
Anderson said the medication she was prescribed to treat impetigo, a bacterial skin infection, only aggravated her condition. The next morning she woke up with painful sores covering her lips.
"I woke up with extremely swollen, gray and white lips. It was too painful to eat or drink and difficult to swallow," she said. " I was worried about the lack of fluids I was getting and worried because my COVID symptoms kept getting worse, so I decided to go to the ER."
After further investigation, a doctor diagnosed Anderson with a sinus infection, ear infection and strep throat.
"I was prescribed antibiotics for my lips and told to come back if my lips got worse... Not even two days later I decided I needed to go back," she added.
During her third visit to the hospital, Anderson was diagnosed with oral mucositis, a condition that causes painful bleeding ulcers, as well as swollen lips and gums.
"It was a painful mix with the fever, cold shakes, sore muscles and swollen throat from also having COVID," Anderson said. "The infectious disease department came to the conclusion that it was caused by a perfect mix of the Accutane, dry skin, my weak immune system, and COVID — and all of the other sicknesses my body was trying to fight."
Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Tiffany Libby told Buzzfeed that Accutane did not cause Anderson's infection, but it may have made her symptoms worse.
"In the literature, there is a report of mucositis developing after COVID, so this might be more of a direct relationship independent of Accutane," she explained.
Anderson said that although she has suffered from eczema her entire life, the oral mucositis was the most painful experience she's ever had.
"When I would go to sleep, my lips would get stuck together, and when I would wake up I would have to pry them open by sliding a Q-tip through the middle of them," she said. "Since my gums were so sore, eating and chewing were extremely painful — to the point where it hurt to eat oatmeal! Talking was also a difficult task through all of the healing stages, since it required my lips to touch together."
After being given a new set of medications, Anderson was able to make a full recovery in just a few weeks.