When to See a Doctor: The Beginning of Stevens Johnson Syndrome

First described in 1922, Stevens Johnson Syndrome is named for its ‘discoverers’, M. Stevens, and F. C. Johnson, who published A new eruptive fever associated with stomatitis and ophthalmia; report of two cases in children. American Journal of Diseases of Children, Chicago, 1922, 24: 526-533.

SJS is thought to arise due to a disorder of the immune system, described as a reaction to medication or infection. It tends to occur in winter and early spring, and affects twice as many men as women.

“Missed diagnosis is common.” – Emedicine.

Most authors and experts consider Stevens Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) to be different levels of severity for the same disease. Because of this, most Medical sources use the term “SJS/TEN”.

How Does it Start?
SJS typically begins with an upper respiratory tract infection, like a cold or flu.

It then behaves like flu for up to two weeks, including fever, sore throat, chills, and headache; in some people there is also vomiting and diarrhea.

Then suddenly, there are blisters in the mucous membranes – especially nose, mouth and eyes. These clusters of blisters last from two to four weeks and are not itchy.

Fever is reported in 85% of cases.

When Should I Get Medical Help?
These are some early warning signs of Stevens Johnson Syndrome:

• Skin pain over large areas of the body
• Blisters, especially on the mucous membranes
• Hives
• Swelling of the tongue and face
• A red or purple rash that spreads
• Shedding skin

Shedding Skin – How Stevens Johnson Syndrome is Classified
The number of people who die from Stevens Johnson Syndrome is related to the amount of skin lost in the sloughing process in the later stages of the disorder. The simplest of the classifications have three stages:

Stevens Johnson Syndrome – less than ten percent of the body surface skin is lost. Between 1% and 5% of patients die.
Stevens Johnson / toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS/TEN) - 10% to 30% of the skin is lost.
Toxic epidermal necrolysis – More than thirty percent of the body surface area is detached. Mortality is between 25% and 35%.

If you have developed the Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS), and have taken the epileptic drug Dilantin®, please speak with us now. You may be entitled to compensation! Contact Eric W. Gruenwald, Attorney / Lawyer, for more information. You can reach him at 866-529-0001, Extension 245.

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