Woman Contracts Flesh-Eating Bacteria And Nearly Loses Arm After Visit To Nail Salon

In 2019, over 20 million Americans received a manicure at least four times. Nail salons are a big and highly profitable business, but there’s a very real risk that may change your mind about your manicure setting. Despite the popularity, many consumers are deathly afraid of becoming a horror story statistic. You’ve likely already seen one involving patrons contracting everything from a fungal infection to hepatitis. Is it all an old wive’s tale or valid concern? One woman’s story of contracting a flesh-eating bacteria after her manicure shows the danger is all too real.

Meet Jayne Sharp

As Jayne Sharp discovered, a bad nail salon experience is far more serious than a long wait or bad manicure. What happened was potentially life-threatening and resulted in permanent physical changes.

Jayne went into her nail salon, Jazzy Nail Bar, and sat down for her manicurist to get to work. Not long into the manicure, her manicurist’s tool slipped and made a tiny cut on her right thumb. If you’re a regular to manicures, then you know this occasionally happens. Jayne was easygoing about it all, and the manicure continued.


By the time Jayne got home, her finger was throbbing in pain. She took some painkillers but still wasn’t able to get much sleep. Morning arrived, and Jayne found she felt even worse. She described it as being flu-like symptoms. It was enough to prompt her to visit her doctor immediately.

The flu test ended up being negative. The doctor did, however, raise concern over Jayne’s injured finger, which now had a swollen lump atop where it had been cut during the manicure. Her doctor drew a circle around the lump’s perimeter so that any further swelling could be carefully monitored over the next few days. Jayne was sent home with instructions to keep a watchful eye.


It was another difficult night of sleep due to the pain. When Jayne awoke the next morning, the lump was much more swollen. Her hand also had discoloration and red streaks spreading from the wound. She called her primary care physician, who advised her to go straight to a hospital.

ER doctors were able to quickly diagnose Jayne with a flesh-eating bacteria. She’d have to undergo immediate surgery, and there was a significant risk she could have her finger, hand, or even arm amputated. Of course, there was also the risk of sepsis.

Thankfully, the surgery was a success. The threat of amputation was mooted, but Jayne had a long and painful recovery ahead of her. It would be over three months before she’d fully recover and regain use of her hand. Her thumb is noticeably disfigured now, and it’s difficult for Jayne to fully grasp objects as well as before the incident. Still, it could’ve been so much worse.


It should be noted that Jayne does have diabetes, which is a pre-existing condition that negatively impacts her immune system in fighting off such infections. Flesh-eating bacterial infections are rare, but they’re highly dangerous. According to Doctor Udit Chaudhuri, flesh-eating bacteria has a mortality rate of around 80 percent if not caught and treated quickly.

Jazzy Nail Bar underwent a full state inspection within days of Jayne’s case, and they passed it. Some point to this meaning Jayne likely contracted the bacteria in her open wound after leaving the nail salon. Jayne, however, insists that it was likely the salon since she started experiencing symptoms almost immediately after her manicure.

istockphoto.com/Topalov In either case, those regularly getting manicures have likely observed that the nail files and other porous nail tools used on the previous client are often put straight on the next client’s feet and hands with no sanitation between the two. It’s a cost-cutting practice employed by many salons despite not being inline with State Board of Cosmetology practices and standards. Put the gross factor aside, such unsanitary practices leave the next client susceptible to a range of infections just by use, especially when broken skin is a factor.

Do you visit nail salons? Have you noticed or refuse to go because of unsanitary practices and the risk of exposure to infection? Tell us your thoughts and opinions, and don’t forget to pass this along to your manicure-loving friends and those who think that the worst that could happen is a bad manicure.