A mother in Arizona was diagnosed with the flu, but ended up having something much worse.
Christin Lipinski was told on Jan. 11 by doctors that she had the flu and received treatment for the infection.
However, she soon experienced increasingly worse pain and was rushed to a local trauma center.
Doctors there found Lipinski had actually developed a highly aggressive and rare flesh-eating disease known as necrotizing fasciitis.
The fasciitis “can be deadly in a very short amount of time,” according to the national Centers for Disease Control. Those with the disease are attacked by bacteria, which quickly spread once they enter the body. The infect the fascia, connective tissue that surrounds muscles, nerves, fat, and blood vessels.
Those infected can die or lose one or more limbs, depending on how advanced the disease is when treatment begins.
The agency notes that the disease can be hard to diagnose because symptoms may lead doctors to believe the patient has a fever or similar issues.
Dr. Frank LoVecchio, an emergency room physician with Banner Health, told ABC15 that sometimes people contract the flu first, weakening their immune systems and making them susceptible to the disease.
“The flu doesn’t cause necrotizing fasciitis,” LoVecchio explained. “You’re many, many thousands of times more likely to get the flu this year than necrotizing fasciitis once in your lifetime.”
Lipinski underwent two surgeries to remove 30 percent of her tissue, which had become infected by the fasciitis, the broadcaster reported.
A GoFundMe noted that she has a long road to recovery and asked for financial help.
“Christin faces a very long road to recovery ahead with numerous skin graft surgeries, reconstructive surgeries and physical therapy. We currently don’t know how long it will take for Christin to fully recover but she will most likely be hospitalized for several months before she can be safely discharged assuming there are no further complications,” wrote Meredith Noce, in charge of the fundraiser.
“Christin’s passion to help others led to her becoming a special education teacher but it is unknown when she will be able to return back to work to help support her three beautiful children. We have chosen a goal of $20,000 based upon what we estimate will not be covered by insurance.”