How Can Popping a Pimple Lead You to The Emergency Room?

Published January 13th, 2021 - 08:32 GMT
(Shutterstock/ File Photo)
(Shutterstock/ File Photo)
Mr Chen from China fought for his life at the ICU for a month before stabilising.

A Chinese man has nearly died from severe infections after popping a pimple under his lips.

Immediately after squeezing the red spot, Mr Chen from eastern China's Jiangsu Province began to suffer a fever as well as a swollen mouth, an infection which then spread to his lungs, reported local media. 

The critically-ill patient, who was diagnosed with double pneumonia, fought for his life at the Intensive Care Unit for a month before his condition finally stabilised, his doctor said.

The incident came to light after it was featured on the local station Jiangsu Television on Tuesday.

Mr Chen, who lives in Jiangsu's Changzhou city, started developing fever symptoms and breathing difficulties soon after he squeezed the acne by himself one day in early December.

His mouth also became swollen and red before his horrified wife took him to seek medical attention at the First People's Hospital in Changzhou.

'He had a pimple on his chin,' His wife, Ms Tian, told reporters. 'I was telling him not to pop it because he had done it before.

'Who would have thought that it would get so serious this time,' the woman added.

After examination, the doctors found Mr Chen had developed double pneumonia, an infection which affects both of his lungs, prompting them to rush the patient to the ICU.

Dr Zhu, who treated Mr Chen, told the media: '[He had] mouth infection which initially triggered double pneumonia and collapsed lungs. [His] condition was critical.'


The medic added that Mr Chen's infections developed after he popped the pimple on his chin, part of an area known as the 'Triangle of Death'.

Also named as the Danger Triangle, the 'Triangle of Death' stretches from the tip of the nose to a point on either side of the lips, roughly where dimples usually appear.

Picking at skin inside this danger zone can have serious implications for your overall health, Dr Zhu warned.

'The first thing is to avoid squeezing it with your hands,' the medic said. 'More importantly, if the surrounding skin becomes red, swollen or painful, or the patient develops a fever, it is recommended to seek medical attention as soon as possible.'

After being treated at the ICU for a month, Mr Chen's condition finally stabilised. But he is said to remain at the ICU for further observation.

Popping a pimple within the danger triangle is cause for alarm due to the blood supply in this region of the face, according to Jeremy Brauer, clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Centre.

The veins running behind our eye sockets lead back to the 'cavernous sinus' which is located in the brain, the expert said.

He told Men's Health that when we pick or pop pimples, dirt from our hands and airborne bacteria can infect the open wound, triggering serious infection. 

The veins behind our eyes form clots to contain infections, which in turn puts pressure on the brain leading to partial or full paralysis and, in some cases, even death.

Left untreated, an infection of the sinus cavity can also lead to a total loss of vision, brain abscesses and meningitis.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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