19 year old Yaasmeen Castanada who took an antibiotic from a friend to get relief from a bad throat developed a severe allergic reaction. So bad that she started ‘burning inside out’ and got large open wounds all over her body. She is now battling for her life in the Burns unit at the University of California Irvine Medical Center, after being diagnosed with a life-threatening drug reaction called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.
The syndrome is a rare and extreme reaction to medication or an infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can begin with flu-like symptoms, but results in the top layer of skin dying and shedding.
“It can be considered sort of a burn from the inside-out,” physician Lawrence Matt, a dermatologist based in Santa Monica, Calif., told ABC News.
The young girl who also has a four month old baby daughter is a sophomore at California State University, Los Angeles. She was down with a sore throat and also started showing symptoms of cold on the Thanksgiving day, seeing which a friend of hers offered her an antibiotic which would help, tells Yaasmeen’s mother, Laura Corona.
Soon thereafter, her eyes and throat began to burn and eyes turned red before she was rushed to the hospital.
“From there it has just spiraled to a nightmare.”“When she took the medication, she started having a hard time breathing, and she told her mom that her lips were burning, her throat, her eyes, they got so red that she couldn’t talk. So she rushed her to the ER, and that’s when they diagnosed her with the disease. And from there it has just spiraled to a nightmare,” said Martha Hughes, the girl’s aunt.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said her mother. “(It’s) just unreal, just watching your daughter burn in front of you. Every day, a new blister, a new burn, a new scar. And she’s just, ‘Mommy, I want to go home.’ And I can’t take her home. I can’t put water on her lips.”
Yaasmeen underwent a surgery on the upper part of her body on Dec. 5, a procedure in which the skin of her body was scraped to encourage new growth.
“It is heartbreaking, every day is a different look. Every day, she’s like, shedding away. … Overnight, it’s a whole different person that you’re looking at,” her aunt said.
Castanada’s mother appealed people to desist from self medication on a website created to raise funds required for her treatment. “A friend offered her an antibiotic pill that she had from a previous illness,” Corona wrote. “She was thinking that it would help her. This would be the biggest mistake of her life.”
“Don’t share medication. Don’t give someone else your medication. Don’t offer medication,” she said.
The victim’s mom also advised all parents to be more careful and to find out if their kids suffer from an allergy before it gets too late. She is hoping that by recounting her harrowing experience, she might be able to help many who make the same mistake.