The last thing you expect to happen when you go to a nail salon — especially one you’ve been going to for years — is to get injured. Sure, mistakes can happen, especially with the sharp tools used for manicures, but a tiny little cut once in a blue moon isn’t a big deal, right? Eh…not exactly. As one Arizona woman says, a seemingly innocuous wound can land you in the hospital with an infection.
Maria Luisa Gerardo has been going to Phoenix’s TJ Nails for more than a decade, so she figured her most recent visit for a manicure would go as it normally does: without any problems. However, the nail tech, a man reportedly named Bill, accidentally left her with “a little open wound, here on the side of my finger,” she told local news station KGUN. When that finger started swelling the next day, according to KGUN, Gerardo went to an urgent-care facility, where she was prescribed antibiotics.
She also went back to TJ Nails to tell the technicians about the infection, but the salon more or less brushed off her concerns, offering her $100, Gerardo says. “It’s nothing. Just clean your hand and buy your medicine, and it will come off,” the salon employees told her, Gerardo told KGUN. But the infection worsened, landing the loyal client in the hospital for surgery to prevent amputation of the infected finger, Gerardo says.
“He cleaned as much as he could, to try and salvage the finger,” Gerardo’s son, Victor, told KGUN about the surgeon’s efforts. “He told me, he kept cutting and cutting the tissue around her finger until it bled, because that was good skin.” The result is a wound that “goes all the way down to the bone,” according to KGUN. It’s so severe, in fact, that KGUN has chosen to blur it in their video coverage of the story.
Although it’s unlikely you’ll find yourself with an infection this bad after a trip to a nail salon, you should always keep an eye out for signs of a bad reaction. “Infections in and around the nail after a manicure are not uncommon. Most bacterial infections involve the skin around the cuticle and along the sides of the nail, called paronychia, and are easily treated,” Arielle Kauvar, a board-certified dermatologist and director of New York Laser & Skin Care in New York City, tells Allure. “The most severe infection is caused by the flesh-eating group, A. streptococcus bacteria, which can result in amputation and even death.”
The doctor’s advice: Make sure the instruments being used for your manicure and pedicure are sterilized, confirm that the foot baths are properly sanitized, and never let the technician use a razor or shaver on your calluses. (Kauvar says toe infections are four times more likely than finger infections.)
KGUN reports that TJ Nails claims Bill no longer works at the salon and that he moved out of state recently. Their reporter spoke to him on the phone, and he claims he never cut Gerardo’s nails. Gerardo is reportedly planning on pursuing legal action against the salon, but she’s not planning on getting a manicure ever again.
“This is the only thing I ever liked doing to myself, my nails,” Gerardo said to KGUN from her hospital bed. “But now, with this that happened to my hand, I never want to do this in my life.”
Gerardo’s son, Victor, tells Allure his mother has been released from the hospital. “I have to apply two types of antibiotics to her through a PICC line. We have to go back to the surgeon tomorrow to see what the next step will be and if she has to have another surgery.”
Allure reached out to TJ Nails, and the owner was not available for comment. We will update this story as new information becomes available.
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