Sharing a Makeup Brush Lands Mom in a Wheelchair

makeup brush

So this is super scary: A mom is wheelchair-bound for life after fighting an infection she caught from using a friend's makeup brush. How on Earth does that happen, and should we all be more careful about sharing brushes?


It turns out this particular case was a perfect storm of conditions. The mom, 27-year-old Jo Gilchrist, says she has a weak immune system to begin with. As it happens, her friend was carrying a staph infection on her face (it's not clear if either of them were aware of the infection at the time). When Gilchrist used her friend's brush on her face she ran it over a pimple. And there you go -- the infection had the perfect passageway to enter Gilgrist's body.

From that point on, things went from bad to horrible. It turns out the infection was MRSA, famously antibiotic resistant. It traveled to Gilchrist's spine. She started to experience a backache that became increasingly painful. "I was in incredible pain and nothing would work," she told Daily Mail Australia. "I honestly thought I was going to die -- the pain was worse than childbirth."

More from The Stir: Overuse of Antibiotics Is a Real Health Threat

And then Gilchrist's legs went numb. The numbness traveled up her body, paralyzing as it went, and surgeons had to operate on her in a race to stop the infection before it reached her chest. Now Gilchrist is paralyzed from the navel down and grateful to still be alive for her 2-year-old son.

"I feel like I have a second chance at life," Gilchrist says. "Everything happens for a reason. I've definitely got my fight back for life."

The mom is still fighting the infection and is expected to remain in the hospital for another three months. She is trying to learn how to walk again, but doctors say she's lost control of her bladder and bowels for life.

So ... could this happen to any of us? Well, as you can see, a combination of factors made this horrible infection happen. But it does make me feel more wary about sharing brushes. You just never know what kind of bacteria you're carrying on your skin, anywhere. If you've been hearing "don't share your makeup" for your entire life, here's one more reason to listen. I have a robust immune system, but I would hate to be the one to pass on a near-fatal infection to a friend (or to one of my sisters!) just because I carelessly handed over a blush brush.

How often do you share makeup tools with friends or family?


Image via stockhype/Shutterstock

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