Illinois’ Botox health scare: Two patients are hospitalized after dodgy injections led to facial PARALYSIS – as state tells doctors to be on lookout for women with droopy faces

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • State officials warned hospitals more botulism cases could enter their doors 
  • Botox could have been counterfeit and was injected by an unauthorized nurse
  • READ MORE:  Woman warns was left with a crooked smile and a lisp after Botox

Two people in Illinois were hospitalized with facial paralysis and trouble breathing after being injected with potentially bogus Botox.

The patients in LaSalle County presented to the hospital with symptoms including blurred or double vision, droopy face, fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and hoarse voice, after receiving shots from a nurse ‘who was performing work outside her authority.’

The key ingredient in Botox injections, widely loved for their ability to paralyze facial muscles and smooth out wrinkles, is botulinum toxin, one of the most poisonous biological substances known to man.

Botulism is a neurotoxin that can cause paralysis, difficulty breathing, and even death if injected improperly or at too high a dosage. 

FDA-approved Botox is generally considered safe and complications are rare, but the state public health agency have warned hospitals to ‘be on heightened alert’ for similar cases of a botulism-like disease from botched injections. 

It’s not clear how many people were injected with what could have been counterfeit Botox by a nurse not authorized to do so, but the Illinois public health department has warned area hospitals to be on heightened alert for similar cases of a botulism-like illness

Botox is typically safe but complications can occur if injected improperly or at the wrong dose. Whitney Buha, 34, from Chicago, Illinois, is pictured with a droopy eyelid after getting Botox

Botox is typically safe but complications can occur if injected improperly or at the wrong dose. Whitney Buha, 34, from Chicago, Illinois, is pictured with a droopy eyelid after getting Botox

Both patients in Illinois, whom the Illinois Department of Public Health has not identified, were injected by a nurse licensed to practice in the county, but who was unauthorized to do so. 

The injections were either Botox or a counterfeit. Health officials have not confirmed either. 

If the injections were, in fact, real Botox, it is possible that the nurse injected too much of it, which can lead to excessive muscle weakness and symptoms consistent with botulism.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr Sameer Vohra said: ‘Receiving these treatments in unlicensed, unapproved settings can put you or your loved ones at serious risk for health problems.

‘Please only seek cosmetic services under the care of licensed professionals trained to do these procedures and who use FDA approved products.

‘If you are experiencing any health problems after a recent cosmetic treatment, please contact your healthcare provider immediately for help and assistance.’

Megan Carlisle, 35, posted a video to TikTok showing the results of the Botox that left her chin 'messed up' with strange swelling and lumpy appearance

Megan Carlisle, 35, posted a video to TikTok showing the results of the Botox that left her chin ‘messed up’ with strange swelling and lumpy appearance

Anything labeled Botox that did not come from manufacturer Allergan should be met with suspicion. 

Legitimate Botox also lists the ingredient OnabotulinumtoxinA, while counterfeits in the past have said Botulinum Toxin Type A.

And while the injections are quick and relatively painless, they can go horribly wrong, resulting in one drooping eye or a chin marked with lumps and divets, among other possible negative effects. 

The news out of Illinois comes just a few days after the Tennessee Department of Health announced its investigation into potentially counterfeit Botox, which caused serious botulism symptoms in four people and hospitalized two of them.

Tennessee officials said: ‘Similar botulism-like illnesses have been reported by multiple states. Ongoing investigation suggests that the product administered was counterfeit.’

Anyone looking to go under the knife or be on the receiving end of a needle should go to a qualified medical professional licensed to administer Botox in that state. 

In Illinois where the cluster of botulism cases occurred, only physicians and nurses licensed and regulated by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation can administer Botox.

The US market for Botox injections is huge, and it is projected to grow from about $4.7 billion in 2023 to nearly $6.7 billion by 2030.

The well-loved procedure that takes mere minutes in a licensed professional’s office is typically very safe, with bruising and some pain at the injection site being the most common patient complaints.

Given the incredibly high toxicity of botulinum toxin, dosages in syringes are typically measured in trillionths of a gram, and target carefully chosen spots on the face to paralyze certain muscles without the substance going to the central nervous system.

But if Botox is injected incorrectly, it could spread to unintended areas and cause symptoms associated with botulism, a rare but serious disease in which toxins produced by the C. botulinum bacteria attack the body’s nerves.

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