Stevens Johnson Syndrome is a skin disorder that can cause severe lasting effects such as permanent blindness, severe lifelong pain, asthma, disfigurement and even death. Early indicators of the condition include rashes, blisters, swelling of the eyelids, fever, and flu-like symptoms. The blisters tend to develop around the mucus membranes—affecting sensitive areas of the epidermis such as the mouth, genitals, eyes, nose, and the respiratory, urinary and GI tracts. General fatigue, headaches, sore throat, nausea and coughing are all common symptoms as well.
The disorder is on the rise, or at least awareness thereof, and the levels at which it has been recently reported. While Steven Johnson Syndrome was thought to be extremely rare upon its official classification in 1922, it has since been increasingly more prevalent. Recent studies have shown that anyone could be at risk, although there are some notable demographic patterns amongst those affected. Younger adults and children are at a higher risk, and males tend to be twice more susceptible than females.
The condition is thought to be an adverse immune system reaction triggered by drugs, medication, or infection. Known causes range from household staples such as ibuprofen, to different types of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. Barbiturates, anticonvulsants, and sulfa-containing drugs are also associated with potentially causing such a reaction. While negative effects from prescription drugs are the primary cause, viral and bacterial infections also are the cause of the condition in some cases. Lastly, is important to note that the actual cause of Stevens Johnson Syndrome is said to be “idiopathic” roughly a third of the time—that is to say, there is no known cause.
Those taking a drug with a known link to the syndrome are at higher risk than the general populace. Those with other immune disorders are also particularly more vulnerable; cancer and HIV both put individuals at a higher predisposition to potentially being affected by Steven Johnson Syndrome.
Like many disorders, if the affected individual can be correctly diagnosed early in the process (and not misdiagnosed and given antibiotics), then more permanent damage can be avoided. If usage of the prescription medication that is likely causing the outbreak can be terminated immediately, this will be a vital first step. If the rash and other symptoms have been caused by an infection, both topical and orally taken steroids are usually implemented. Lastly, if the reaction is particularly severe, a specialist in the pertinent field is employed. For instance, in the case that eye swelling reaches a critical level, an ophthalmologist would be utilized to ensure long-term damage isn’t sustained to the sufferer’s eyesight. For general skin rashes, severely affected individuals are typically treated in burn victim centers, as their wounds need the same treatment as burn victims.
Anyone suffering through a severe case of Stevens Johnson Syndrome may feel overwhelmed with never-ending medical bills on top having to cope with a life-threatening situation. Extended hospital stays, expensive treatments, and the potential for permanent bodily damage all but guarantee the condition will take its toll on the patient financially. Considering seeking the consultation of a Board Certified personal injury attorney is something many enduring the disorder have done. A professional with proven expertise in the area can help bring justice to those that have suffered and help patients meet their medical needs.