An English woman was rushed to the hospital twice in one week after suffering a severe allergic reaction to hair dye —mand the situation was made all the more scary due to the fact that she was five months pregnant at the time.
According to Metro UK, 30-year-old Jess Strachan had been dyeing her hair for more than a decade with no negative reactions. As such, the family friend who dyed Strachan’s hair didn’t conduct a patch test, which can help predict allergic reactions. Unfortunately, possibly due to her pregnancy, Strachan’s face blew up the day after her salon visit. She tells Metro UK,
“The whole experience was absolutely terrifying. My face had swollen so much that I looked like a monster, even my own husband couldn’t look at me as he was utterly devastated….my forehead was absolutely huge and incredibly painful to touch.”
Strachan’s husband, Stuart, rushed her to the emergency room. Despite the intense pain she was in, doctors refused to prescribe her any medicine, fearing that doing so could harm the baby. She was sent home and told to keep an eye on the swelling.
By the next day, Strachan’s reaction had worsened; her entire face was swollen and she was unable to open her eyes. However, emergency room doctors still refused to give her medication for the reaction. She recalls, “I just broke down in tears and couldn’t understand how they could just turn me away…my head felt so tight and hot, I was in so much pain. I thought I was going to die.”
Finally, three days after getting her hair dyed, Strachan visited her primary care doctor. The doctor confirmed she was suffering an allergic reaction to paraphenylenediamine, or PPD, a chemical used in most commercial hair dyes. Her doctor prescribed antihistamines and cautioned her against dyeing her hair again during her pregnancy: As Strachan later admitted, the doctor warned her that if the reaction had been internal, she could have miscarried.
Read up on hair dye allergies:
- Teen’s Boxed Hair Dye Experiment Causes Severe Allergic Reaction
- What You Need to Know About Allergic Reactions to Hair Dye
- British Woman Suffers Severe Allergic Reaction to Hair Dye
“When I heard those words I just burst into tears,” she says. “I felt so guilty and scared for the safety of my baby.” Fortunately, Strachan recovered about a week later, and in July 2015, gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
While her ordeal was undoubtedly severe, it sheds light on the importance of taking extra precautions while pregnant. If you’re going to dye your hair, always perform a patch test — no matter how certain you are that you’re not allergic to hair dye.
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