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Teen Has Survived Three Bouts With Stevens Johnson Syndrome

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Painesville, OHAustin's mom suggests that her son's bout with Stevens Johnson Syndrome was brought on by a virus. And while Kelly Minnick appears to maintain that stance, she acknowledges in her blog that SJS can be caused by an allergic reaction to various over-the-counter medications. Austin's second of what turned out to be three journeys through the SJS jungle was initiated after ibuprofen was prescribed to ease the discomfort of a swollen knee.

That was in early February 2009, according to Minnick's blog Stevens-Johnson Syndrome—Austin's Story. Austin was instructed by the family's doctor to take ibuprofen every six hours for a week. Five days later, the teenager began complaining of a fever and sore throat. A swab for strep and mono proved negative. The fever persisted through February 10 and 11 and Austin still didn’t feel well enough to return to school. He was still taking ibuprofen, seven days after initially starting on it.

It was on February 13, when Austin had felt well enough to return to classes, that his mother first noticed his lips had swollen to twice their normal size. She had seen that once before, she writes, when her son went through his first trial with SJS two years previously—although at the time she had no idea what SJS was. Now she was seeing similar Stevens Johnson Syndrome symptoms.

Austin would battle through to the end of April that year. By August he was "doing great," according to Kelly. "You'd never know six months ago what he went through. But if you look, you can still see the scars on his hands, arms and legs, his mouth is still sensitive to spicy foods, and his gums have still not receded completely back yet."

Six months after that post, Stevens Johnson Syndrome returned yet again, in February 2010. Thankfully, writes his mother, it wasn't as bad as previous episodes—and as of August 6 of this year Kelly reports there have been few flare-ups of the telltale mouth sores that serve as an SJS calling card for Austin. Her son is stronger for all he has gone through, his mother writes.

And while the header for Stevens-Johnson Syndrome—Austin's Story references an undetermined virus as the cause, Kelly writes that she was convinced for some time previously that another cause for her son's SJS horror was at play. "I had convinced myself that the SJS was from the ibuprofen last year that he was taking and not a virus since that is something we can control."

Various examples of Stevens Johnson skin disease suffered by other patients have proven fodder for Stevens Johnson Syndrome lawyers, who have gone after drug manufacturers for not sufficiently warning consumers against the risks associated with the potential onset of SJS rash that has the capacity to mushroom into something far more serious—and in some cases, with deadly consequences.

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