Man nearly dies after popping 'pimple' in 'danger triangle'

If you're itching to pop that pesky pimple that has sprouted on your face, you'd better stop.

A man from Zhejiang, China, nearly lost his life after popping what he thought was a pimple near his upper lip, Ming Pao reported.

The 'pimple' had grown in size over time and caused him pain, so the 50-year-old gave it a squeeze and purged some pus.

However, the area started to swell shortly afterward and his face ballooned the next day.

When the man sought help at a local hospital, he had developed a high fever and could not breathe properly. His blood glucose levels also rose rapidly.

He was later transferred to Zhejiang Provincial First Hospital for treatment. There, the man had several brushes with death.

A doctor who treated the man said the area near the corner of his upper lip had turned black which signaled the tissue there had died. Photo: Weibo

A doctor who treated the man said the area near the corner of his upper lip had turned black which signaled the tissue there had died.

He was found to have developed sepsis, a serious complication of an infection. It triggers inflammatory responses throughout the body and can cause multiple organ failures and lead to death.

The man also has diabetes, a chronic condition which compromised his ability to fight the infection.

To save his life, doctors removed about 8cm of dead tissue near his upper lip and drained 100ml of pus from the infected area. After the operation, they continued to drain between 50 and 100ml of pus daily over the next five days.

He was eventually discharged from the hospital last week but will require reconstructive surgery in the future.

WHAT IS THE 'TRIANGLE OF DEATH'?

'Danger triangle' of the facePhoto: Wikipedia

The 'pimple' the man had popped was actually a boil - a painful, pus-filled bump that was formed under the skin when a hair follicle was infected by bacteria.

And when he squeezed the boil on his upper lip, he unknowingly spread the infection to other parts of his body.

The face's 'triangle of death' consists of the area from the nose bridge to the upper lip which is full of blood vessels and nerves that are directly connected to the brain.

An infection in the hair follicle or sebaceous glands in this area can spread throughout the body rapidly and become deadly.

Both boils and pimples that grow in this 'danger zone' should be treated with care, according to medical experts.

This is the latest incident highlighting the danger of the 'triangle of death.'

Last March, a 29-year-old man in Jiangsu had a close shave with death after squeezing a pimple near his upper lipPhoto: Weibo

Last March, a 29-year-old man in Jiangsu had a close shave with death after squeezing a pimple near his upper lip. He was saved after doctors treated his sepsis.

Now, take your hands off that pimple on your face.

minlee@sph.com.sg