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An American woman is warning others of a rare potential COVID side effect after the virus interacted with her acne medication and ultimately turned her lips black.
But when she recently contracted the Delta variant of COVID-19, the combination of viral infection and isotretinoin severely worsened the condition of her lips, turning them yellow and scabbed before eventually leaving her with a sore black mouth so painful that she was prescribed morphine at the hospital.
Scary! Avery Anderson, a makeup artist from Lincoln, Nebraska, recently contracted the Delta variant of COVID — and says it ultimately left her with horrifically cracked black lips
Before and after: In a matter of weeks, Avery’s lips had grown so painful and cracked that she had to go to the hospital
Ouch! She explained that she tkes the acne drug isotretinoin, known most commonly as Accutane ,A side effect of isotretinoin is that her lips were usually dry and cracked
Avery went viral earlier this week when she shared a TikTok video of herself arriving at the emergency room.
To the video’s 3.4 million viewers, it was immediately clear what she was there for: Her lips were a scary shade of black, covered in large yellowing scabs.
She showed herself in a hospital bed, where doctors gave her morphine — but even sticking out her tongue was painful.
As concerned comments poured in, Avery explained the unexpected chain of events that led her lips to be in such horrific condition.
‘No I did not kiss a BBQ grill!’ she said.
Avery takes isotretinoin, a powerful vitamin A derivative used to treat severe acne. It is sold under several brand names, thought the most well-known one, Accutane, is no longer available in the US.
Ow! But when she got COVID, they grew much worse and were covered in yellow scabs
Scary stuff! Following a misdiagnosis from a doctor, her lips continued to worsen and eventually turned black and incredibly painful
Terrifying: She was given morphine in the emergency room and diagnosed with mucormycosis, a rare fungal infection
The drug is typically used only when all other remedies have failed, because it can have unpleasant side effects — including dry nose, sun sensitivity, thinning hair, digestive issues, and even mood changes.
It’s also known to dry out lips, something that Avery is used to.
‘It closes all your sebaceous glands, and it’ll dry you out,’ she said.
But the condition of her lips worsened considerably in the past two weeks since she contracted COVID.
‘I got sick with COVID, the second COVID [Delta variant], strep, I got a sinus infection, an ear infection, literally the whole works. It was terrible, I was dying for a while,’ she said.
‘And then I noticed my lips were starting to get bad.’
Avery shared shared a photo of what her lips looked liked when she first visited a doctor. They were dry, cracked, and covered in yellowing scabs.
Unexpected: Avery was told that the combination of COVID and her already-cracked lips led to the serious infection, causing black lesions
‘It happened because I had those cracks in my lips and it’s COVID that manifested in my mouth because of my cracked lips,’ she said
‘So be careful, because this is disgusting,’ she added
The first doctor she saw diagnosed her with impetigo, a contagious bacterial infection that causes red sores on the face.
But that wasn’t right, and the medicine she was prescribed only made her lips worse, turning them black and increasing the scabbing.
She went to the emergency room, where she got a diagnosis of mucormycosis — a rare fungal infection that can cause black lesions on the nose and mouth, among other serious symptoms.
It requires antifungal medication, and sufferers may need surgery to cut away the infected tissue.
‘It happened because I had those cracks in my lips and it’s COVID that manifested in my mouth because of my cracked lips,’ she said.
‘So be careful, because this is disgusting,’ she added.
What is mucormycosis? How rare fungal infection caused black lips
Mucormycosis is a serious fungal infection caused by mucormycetes molds.
It is quite rare, and can be contracted by coming into contact with mucormycetes spores. They typically infect people with health problems, or those who are on medication that compromise their immune systems.
There are several different types of mucormycosis infections, including of the lungs and sinuses.
It can develop on the skin through a cut, burn, or other open wound. This type, called cutaneous mucormycosis, is the most common type for people who don’t have weakened immune systems.
Symptoms vary based on the area infected, but can include black skin lesions, blisters, ulcers, pain, warmth, excessive redness, and swelling for those with cutaneous mucormycosis.
If infected in other parts of the body, it can cause fever, cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, facial swelling, nasal or sinus congestion, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and gastrointestinal bleeding.
The infection is treated with prescription antifungal medicine. Often, mucormycosis requires surgery to cut away the infected tissue.