[WARNING: Some of these images may be graphic to some readers]
What your idea of a relaxing holiday? Traveling somewhere is generally what people answer, but or a lot of people the best way to relax is to just sit in a hot tub and forget about your worries. For Taylor Bryant, though, her hot tub vacation almost cost her a limb.
Bryant was on vacation with her family in Tennessee when she began experiencing cramping in her right leg. She was also feeling a little nauseous, but hoped it would go away. However, after a few days, the pain and swelling in Bryant's leg continued to get worse, and she said it was "worse than labor."
“Within 24 hours of the rash, I couldn’t walk,” Bryant said. “[My leg] was swollen and [the] rash was spreading.”
The mother of two went to an urgent care facility with the hopes of getting some answers, and was prescribed an antibiotic to treat a potential infection. The medication didn't help at all, and two days later Bryant and her family were back in their home of Indianapolis. Bryant went to her doctor for medical attention. She ended up being diagnosed with cellulitis, which can be a life-threatening bacterial skin infection.
Bryant, 26, was given a 10-day regiment of antibiotics, but things still continued to deteriorate. Her skin began to turn black, blister, peel, and a rash rose up her leg. Because the antibiotics weren't helping, Bryant was sent to an infectious disease specialist, who kept her in the hospital for four days and three nights. Things got so serious, the young mother was told she might require a leg amputation and the infection was spreading.
“[Hearing that I might be] losing my leg, I instantly started crying,” she recalled. “It scared me to think that could happen so young, [especially] being a mom of two kids.”
It was a tough time for Bryant, and it started to feel like her leg didn't even belong on her body anymore.
“I thought I was going to lose my leg,” Bryant told News 8. “They told me they couldn’t make any promises… and even if things went well, I might need skin grafts. It didn’t feel like it was part of me. To see all the pus and the color changes was creepy.”
Luckily, after two weeks of antibiotics that were administered through IV, Bryant was told she was finally getting better.
“[It was a] sense of relief knowing that the two IV antibiotics were working and we could have control over it,” she said. “I hugged [the doctor]. I just squeezed her. The whole time I was in the hospital, I was wondering, ‘Will I ever get better?'”
Doctors figure that while Bryant was on vacation, she got the infection while she was in her hotel's hot tub. She filed a report with the hotel shortly after noticing the rash. Due to legal reasons, she couldn't reveal the name of the hotel where she stayed. Now that she's gone through this whole ordeal, hot tubs are not in her future.
“[This incident] changed my view on hot tubs,” she admitted. “I used to think they were nice and relaxing. Now I know how nasty they can be so fast. I will not be going back in one.”
It's been four months since Bryant almost lost her leg, and though it might be easy for her to be upset about what happened to her, the young mom is trying to be grateful for what she has.
“I was thankful to have my leg but more so thankful I am here today,” Bryant explained. “There were plenty of days where I was down and hard on myself feeling like I wasn’t getting better. My doctor would remind me that it takes time to heal. It was a bad case and it just doesn’t go away easily.”
Bryant now has a message for everyone else who might be thinking about a hot tub adventure in the near future.
“I want people to see the chance they take in hot tubs,” she says. “It’s not just oceans and lakes anymore. This can be just from a break of skin, for example, shaving [your] legs [and] then getting in [a] hot tub.”
Hot tub rash is a real thing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's caused by an infection by a germ called Pseudomonas aeruginosa. When a body of water, like a pool, hot tub, or spa, is not well maintained and your skin comes in contact with it, that can cause the bacteria to start the infection. Some symptoms of hot tub rash including a bumpy red rash and "pus-fulled blisters around hair follicles."
Hot tubs are relaxing, but only if they're well maintained.