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Bruce’s Story

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

Late February 2005, I developed symptoms of fever, headache, and nasal congestion. To alleviate my symptoms, I decided to take different over the counter cold medications. Several weeks later, I developed a variety of symptoms including hives, severe itching, and a red and very hot rash. The itch across my body was so tremendous that my wife took me to the emergency room. The physician in the ER diagnosed me with an allergic reaction to my cold medications and prescribed me with oral corticosteroids to help bring down the severity of the itch and alleviate my symptoms.

This medication was of no aid, as my itching and fever persisted. I also began to develop other symptoms such as general malaise, and painful sores across the inside of my mouth and body. I was not the same person. The sores in my mouth made it so difficult to swallow, that I resorted to consuming fluids through a straw. With the aid of our family doctor, we were soon were arranged a consult with Dr. Willoughby from Guelph who diagnosed me with Stevens Johnson Syndrome.

Dr. Willoughby took swab cultures of the blisters and provided me with antibiotics for the infections I have developed. She suggested that I stay at home, rest in bed, and continue to have adequate fluid intake. We discussed the possibility of being hospitalized, but she recommended I stay home as the chances of obtaining an infection from the hospital would be greater.

After a couple months, the hair on my body began to grow back, the wounds and sores began to heal with healthy skin, and the sores in my mouth were gone, allowing me to eat again. I slowly developed my strength after regaining the ability to eat. I have thankfully not had any recurrence of these symptoms since that incident as I don’t take any medications at this time. I am very thankful that my doctor first recognized these symptoms in its early stages.

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