Terrible Bruises Appeared On 4-Year-Old Girl’s Legs. Doctors Discovered A Shocking Reason
For most children, getting the chicken pox is a rite of passage that involves lots of oatmeal baths, calamine lotion and some temporary itching and discomfort. When 4-year-old Bo August got the chicken pox, however, she nearly lost her legs and began a life-threatening battle with a condition called purpura fulminans.
Purpura fulminans is a rare disorder that causes the blood to thicken and clot, eventually causing the veins to collapse as the blood coagulates in them. The condition can be life-threatening and may cause a loss of limbs if not caught and corrected in time. Sometimes the condition occurs immediately after birth as the result of a hereditary deficiency while other times its cause is never discovered. In August’s case, the illness was likely the result of an infection able to work around her immune system, which was busy fighting her chicken pox.
August was diagnosed with purpura fulminans when her parents noticed that she seemed to be having trouble walking and started complaining about pain in her legs. A visual examination of her legs revealed large areas of her skin to be a deep purple, almost black color, prompting her parents to consult their doctor immediately. Other symptoms of the condition include low blood pressure (hypotension) and fever. The large purple lesions present in August’s case are perhaps the most frightening but also the most notable symptom of the disease.
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Treatment of purpura fulminans varies based on the severity of the infection. In cases such as August’s where the disease is caused by an infection rather than heredity, antibiotics may be administered as well as immunoglobulin, a collection of immune cells that work with the immune system to fight infection. Surgical removal of infected tissue may be adequate to contain the infection, which spreads when left untreated, but limb amputation is common when blood flow to an area has been restricted for too long.
In infants with a hereditary defect, blood thinning drugs are often administered and certain blood plasma is administered to add the lacking blood proteins to the body. The affected tissue may need to be removed, as well.
In the case of Bo August, the child was hospitalized for three months during which time she underwent skin grafts to save her legs and physical therapy to learn to walk again. Today, she is a healthy, happy little girl who makes friends easily and enjoys running and playing with them. All that remains of her ordeal today are a few scars on her legs which she sometimes shows off to her friends. If you’re lucky, she may even show them to you.