Thursday, March 16, 2017 by Thomas Dishaw
Most people are familiar with Streptococcal pharyngitis, or Strep throat, causing a sore throat, fever, and swollen tonsils. Though it typically goes away via antibiotics or home remedies, one man in Michigan almost lost his life after Strep traveled to his stomach.
Kevin Breen, a 44-year-old from Alto, MI, a suburb in Grand Rapids, began suffering from a stomachache on Christmas Day. The pain eventually grew to be unbearable over the next few days, prompting Breen to go to the emergency room. Dr. Elizabeth Steensma, an acute care surgeon at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, said Green was the sickest patient she had ever seen.
Doctors tried their best to quickly diagnose what was wrong, but then Breen’s organs began to fail. His body’s natural instinct was to redirect blood flow to those organs to save them, but this resulted in the flesh on his hands and feet dying. Ultimately, his fingers and toes blackened. His stomach had also begun to fill with pus.
Finally, a rash on Breen’s abdomen was discovered, indicating to doctors that they needed to test him for Strep. Sure enough, that was exactly what Breen was suffering from, and his body was unable to fight off the infection. As it turns out, the Strep had traveled from his throat to his stomach, making him the second man in the world to have this happen. There are 32 known cases of Strep traveling to the stomach, but most are found in women, and it travels via the urinary tract. (RELATED: Get more news like this at Outbreak.news.)
Breen’s son had contracted Strep prior to Kevin falling ill, but he was able to fight it off with no problem. For some reason, Kevin was not able to do the same. As a result of this rare scenario, there is a case study in progress to find out why someone would be so susceptible to this infection that it would cause this kind of reaction.
Breen is back home, but he will have to undergo amputation of his hands and feet due to the loss of blood as his body fought against the infection. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Breen and his family cover the hospital costs. Despite this dire situation, the Breen family is remaining positive. “Life is forever going to be different,” said his wife, “but different doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. It’s just going to be what we make it, and we just have to figure it out, figure it out for our kids. Dad’s going to have cool hands, Dad’s going to have cool feet. We have to be positive.”
While this case is rare, regular Strep throat can still wreak havoc on our day-to-day lives. It is common to see a spike in cases during flu and cold season. Most doctors will prescribe antibiotics when diagnosed, however recent studies have shown that while antibiotics kill the Strep, they also work against our natural antibodies. There are several natural ingredients such as sage, apple cider vinegar, and cinnamon that have the ability to relieve symptoms and speed up the recovery process in conjunction with probiotics.
A weak immune system also increases a person’s chances of catching Strep, so be sure to take a vitamin D supplement every day and clean up your diet, which are among some of the healthy steps you can take to boost your immune system.