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This Man's Story About How He Got An Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria On His Chin Will Make You Never Want To Use Someone Else's Razor Ever Again

"Hey, bestie..."

Two weeks ago, Nick Holterman was simply living his life in Los Angeles when he shaved his face using a razor he found in his bathroom. "I'm still not sure if it was mine or my roommate's, but I didn't think about it at the time because my roommates and I share pretty much everything and I was in a hurry. I remember my skin immediately feeling irritated because I had been a little rough on my chin and jawline, but that was normal because I get impatient when I shave and don't mind a few nicks here and there."

Fast-forward to a few days ago, and he was scrolling on TikTok when he saw a woman sharing the time her friend had shaved her ~area~ with a random razor she found in a frat house. Considering what he'd just been through, he just couldn't pass up the opportunity to stitch it:

@holterman

#stitch with @melroseplaza this is my official autobiography

♬ original sound - Holty

"I was literally just sitting in my car, Band-Aid on my chin and all, and I happened upon this video. It was too much of a coincidence to pass up on, so I just stitched the video and shared my experience with a dirty razor. It had 2 million views within 24 hours because nothing brings people together like disease, apparently," Nick told BuzzFeed.

@holterman / Via tiktok.com

Okay, let's rewind! A few days after using the razor, Nick developed 4–5 "holes" on his chin, "like mini spider bites." Not too long after, they filled with puss and got larger. Nick began experiencing "chills, aches, and the worst sore throat of my life. My first thought was that I had strep, and I didn't even think about the irritation on my chin because my throat hurt so bad. I went to an urgent care and they prescribed me Cephalexin without actually testing me for strep (I didn't want to pay the extra $18 out of pocket for a test, because I am stupid)."

Nick Holterman / Via instagram.com

The Cephalexin seemed to work for about two days, until everything came back with a vengeance and Nick felt even sicker than before. "To add insult to injury, my sores ballooned in size and combined to form like a mass of crusty nastiness on my chin. I went to another urgent care and they tested me for COVID-19, strep, mono, etc. They all came back negative, but the doctor correctly guessed that the cause was still bacterial and not viral, and decided to put me on a stronger antibiotic."

Nick Holterman

THAT new antibiotic also seemed to work pretty well — it cleared up the aches and sore throat — but nevertheless, the sores on Nick's chin persisted. "I was sprouting new, deeper sores along my jawline. Keep in mind, this entire time they were ITCHY, like burning-hot red itchiness like I've never felt before. That's not normal for mere ingrown hairs."

Nick Holterman

"I started to freak out because my birthday was coming up, and I didn't want to celebrate it looking like I had just made out with a rotting corpse, so I got in contact with a family friend who is an ER doctor and asked him about it. He immediately put me on Bactrim, which, along with Clindamycin and Vancomycin, is like the king of antibiotics (I'm an expert on antibiotic hierarchies now)."

Nick Holterman

Four days into using Bactrim, Nick's sores finally started to improve and clear up, leaving a scab that looked like a "beehive of dead skin cells." After confirming with a fourth doctor that the antibiotics were indeed working, he scrubbed off the scabs and can now go about his days without a giant bandage on his chin.

@holterman / Via tiktok.com

"Ultimately, I never actually found out exactly what type of bacteria it was, but from a visual inspection, my doctor diagnosed me with Impetigo caused by an unspecified staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria (Impetigo is one of the many ways a bacterial skin infection can manifest)."

Since I'm now the official "staph writer" here at BuzzFeed — Nick's words, not mine — I decided to reach out to Dr. Britt Craiglow, MD, a double board-certified dermatologist, to get a bit more info. Dr. Britt told BuzzFeed that although Nick's infection is probably not all that common, it's definitely not worth the risk of sharing razors. "Think of it this way: By tolerating a little stubble for a day or two, you could potentially save yourself a trip to a doctor’s office — or worse, the emergency room — waiting in line at the pharmacy, and walking around for several days with a highly contagious rash on your face, legs, etc."

"Your razor belongs to you, and you alone! In the same way that you (hopefully!) wouldn’t use someone else’s toothbrush, you shouldn’t use another person’s razor. We all have bacteria that lives on our skin, and that can be fairly easily transferred via a razor, particularly if it nicks the skin. Other things, like warts, which are caused by a virus, can also be spread in this manner."

But if you suspect you've contracted something from using someone else's razor, Dr. Britt recommends seeing your primary care physician or a board-certified dermatologist for confirmation. "With proper treatment — either topical or oral antibiotics, depending on the extent of the infection — Impetigo should start to improve within a few days, and generally resolves within 7–10 days."

For his part, when asked if he'd ever feel comfortable using someone else's razor again, Nick responded, "Take a wild guess."

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