Caitlin Alsop was only 23 years old when a hidden wisdom tooth infection almost took her life.
The young Australian had developed a small rash on her face and was generally feeling under the weather. Still, she had written it off as a short illness that would pass. One night in August 2018, she went to bed and almost didn’t wake up. Her tongue had suddenly begun to swell. It soon reached a size that blocked her airway.
She was rushed to the Gold Coast University Hospital and originally diagnosed with an allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis is typically treated with adrenaline. Despite the adrenaline, Alsop’s blood pressure dropped dramatically. Out of options, doctors put Alsop into a medically induced coma.
Alsop remained in the coma for 9 days. During this time, her condition deteriorated. The woman’s tongue lost circulation and turned black. The appendage was nearly amputated. The small rash that started on her face soon spread to half of her body. Doctors were stumped and ran a series of tests.
It turns out Alsop had an infection deep in her wisdom tooth, unbeknownst to her, for months. The oral infection is known as Ludwig’s Angina. While rare, it can easily become dangerous. Typically, sufferers experience mouth pain, difficulty swallowing, and a fever. If the infection is left unchecked, it can cause airway blockage or sepsis.
Alsop reported that a team of 18-60 people took care of her during her 9-day stay in ICU. She is grateful to the entire medical team that saved her life. In a Facebook post on October 16, she thanked the “real heroes” who “wear scrubs not capes.”
The now 24-year-old is left with permanent reminders of the trauma: namely,scars and a permanent lisp. She hasn’t lost her zest for life, however. She discussed her new life with The Epoch Times. “It’s ironic that in nearly losing my tongue and my ability to speak, I gained a whole new voice, and an even bigger story to share,” she said. Alsop now runs her own discount website called YesThanks.
This story serves as a reminder of the importance of regular dentist visits. Your dentist does more than just checks for cavities. Regular dental x-rays can catch a problem, like Alsop’s infection, before it becomes critical. Also, it is important to extract problematic wisdom teeth. Be sure to schedule your dental checkup soon.