Lauren Evens, a beauty therapist trainee and mom of two from Chester, UK, went to have her lip filler redone last week, a task she had been doing for the past four years. This time the unexpected happened: she began feeling the symptoms of what would become full-fledged anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is a serious, life-threatening reaction to a food, drug, insect venom, or other substance that can lead to shock, cardiac arrest, and death if not treated quickly with epinephrine, also known as adrenaline in the UK.
I had the lip cream on and [the beautician] did them and they were fine, but about an hour later they started to swell up and they went huge.
Evens’ lips and neck began to swell and her airways started closing, telltale signs that some part of the treatment, perhaps the numbing cream or the filler itself, had triggered a serious reaction.
She picks up the story:
My lips looked like a baboon’s bum. They went around six times bigger than their normal size. It was very painful.
They basically rushed me into resus [resuscitation] and injected me with adrenaline and that worked. My lips were really sore and I felt a bit sick. At first, I was fine in A&E [the emergency department]. I couldn’t close my mouth and was struggling to talk quite a bit, but then the nurses rushed me through to resus and I couldn’t really talk at all.
Evens, whose account of her ordeal drew thousands of views on TikTok, talked about her being treated:
It was scary. They didn’t really say a lot to me and just rushed me straight through to resus and when you think of resus and watch TV programs, that’s where you get rushed to when it’s life-threatening and I was like, ‘But I was walking, I’m fine. How am I like this and being rushed into this place?’
I’ve had a lot of lip filler and treatments before and had it previously around four weeks ago and didn’t have a reaction. It’s unexplained as to why this happened. Apparently, at any age and at any point you can develop an allergy to something.
I get lip fillers for a confidence boost. I wouldn’t tell people not to get them done if they want to get them done, but I’d say be careful and it’s more the fact that an allergy can come on at any time.
I won’t be getting lip filler again anytime soon. I want to have the allergy test to see exactly what I’m allergic to. The thought that it could happen again is very scary.
Evens arrived at the hospital at 10:30PM but wasn’t discharged until the following afternoon, presumably to ensure she would not suffer subsequent (biphasic) reactions.
The swelling, she recalled, did not subside for three days and she was in pain for five days.
We at SnackSafely.com are happy tragedy was averted and Ms Evens fully recovered from her ordeal.
Her story is a reminder that anyone can develop an allergy at any time, even after safely consuming the same food, using the same cosmetics, or being treated with the same drug for years.
And if you are already allergic, keep in mind that the severity of one reaction is not predictive of the next, i.e. a mild reaction one day can rise to the level of anaphylaxis with the next exposure.
Remind yourself of the signs of anaphylaxis and be sure to administer your epinephrine immediately and call 911 if you suspect you are experiencing an anaphylactic reaction.