Health Stories

My lips were like sausages!

Christina suffered a terrifying reaction

A told to Joe Cusack, Focus Features

After Christina Burton, 30, had a routine beauty treatment, she felt like her lips were going to explode. Here she tells her story in her own words.

Pursing my lips, I looked in the mirror and sighed.

I need a top up, I decided. 

I’d first started having lip fillers three years before, to cheer myself up. 

A bad break-up had left me with no confidence and the little treat gave me a boost.

Each time, the beautician came to my home, and everything went smoothly.

In September 2018, I booked another filler.

‘I’m using a new numbing cream today,’ the beautician told me when she arrived.

The procedure seemed to go as normal. 

But the moment the beautician left my house, I could feel my lips swelling… and swelling.

My lips were swollen like sausages (Credit: Focus Features)

Soon, I was in agony. It feels like they’re going to explode! I panicked.

I kept looking in the mirror, half-fascinated, half-horrified, at the size of my lips.

It was just like something from a horror film.

I took some antihistamines and tried sipping cold water through a straw to keep hydrated but my lips were so big I couldn’t even open my mouth.

Luckily, my two kids were out for the day, as my face would have terrified them.

Deciding to go to bed, I lay down. But suddenly I felt much worse and was struggling for breath.

I could feel my throat closing over, the lining of my nose was swelling and I was wheezing.

In a panic, I called an ambulance.

‘I can’t breathe!’ I gasped. ‘Please help!’

Within a few minutes, I heard sirens outside.

The paramedics rushed in and gave me adrenaline and oxygen.

By now, I felt dizzy and nauseous, and my vision was blurring.

I felt dizzy and my vision was blurring (Credit: Focus Features)

‘We need to get you to hospital,’ I was told.

My mouth was so swollen, I couldn’t even cry properly.

At hospital, I was given steroids and they kept me in overnight.

Doctors said it was an allergic reaction.

I’d never had one to the fillers before, so I thought it must have been the cream.

Gradually, my lips came down. It was like watching a balloon deflate, little by little.

‘You’ve had a very lucky escape,’ a doctor told me.

All I could think about was my kids.

What if I’d died? I thought.

I realised how silly I had been.

For days after, I looked like a duck gone wrong.

I was admitted to hospital (Credit: Focus Features)

When I sent the pictures to my pals, they thought I’d altered them with funny filters on my phone.

It was embarrassing too, like having sausages for lips.

My lips were swollen for another week, but gradually I returned to normal.

Thankfully, there were no lasting side-effects.

I knew that I’d had a lucky escape.

I’ll never have fillers again, I won’t take that risk.

The frightening ordeal has been a real wake-up call for me and has made me appreciate the way I look, just as I am.

I’m sharing my story in the hope that people are aware that allergic reactions can and do happen to anyone.

Next time, there might not be such a happy ending.

I’m sharing my story to raise awareness about allergic reactions (Credit: Focus Features)

For more real-life stories see the latest issue of that’s life! magazine out now.

Issue 11 cover

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