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Woman Loses Arm and Breasts to Flesh-Eating Bacteria Caused by Bath Salts

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In the past I've written about a dangerous product with the innocuous sounding name of "bath salts"–but don't be fooled, this product is anything but harmless. In fact, bath salts are actually a drug that users ingest to achieve hallucinogenic effects and have been linked to suicidal thoughts and paranoia. Several users have died after using bath salts.

A recent report told the story of another woman who injected bath salts into her harm with a needle during a party. She was subsequently rushed to the emergency room complaining of pain, swelling and redness at the injection site. The doctor gave her antibiotics and diagnosed her with a skin infection. Unfortunately, the symptoms were not alleviated after two more days, and the woman returned to the emergency room. Suspecting a growing infection, doctors decided to cut her forearm open to see if there was healthy tissue underneath, but to their horror, discovered dead muscle and an infection spreading so fast that they could see the flesh dying before them. Ultimately, the woman had her arm amputated, a double masectomy and skin grafts to keep the infection from spreading.

The final diagnosis was flesh-eating bacteria that invaded the woman's arm at the injection site. Flesh-eating bacteria is so deadly that patients require surgery within 25 hours or risk death. One study authored by Dr. Russel Russo and colleagues warns that the popularity of bath salts could cause a spur in the number of deadly flesh-eating bacteria infections. Overall, the number of health problems related to the use of bath salts as skyrocketed–Poison Control centers received about 300 calls in 2010 but that number has quickly risen to 6,000. At least 16 states have enacted bans against the drug.