Woman says she contracted deadly flesh-eating bacteria after getting a manicure at a nail salon: 'I'm just lucky to be alive'

A woman in Tennessee claimed she almost lost her hand due to contracting flesh-eating bacteria after getting a manicure at a nail salon in Knoxville.

Jayne Sharp told CBS affiliate WTVF that she didn't think anything of it when she "got poked in the thumb," but a couple of hours after she left the salon, her thumb started throbbing. From there, the infection only escalated.

Soon, she started experiencing flu-like symptoms, and after speaking to her daughter who is a registered nurse, she decided to go to the doctor, where a nurse practitioner used a marker to track her swelling and sent her home.

"She had called me at 4 o'clock, awoke me, and asked me how that streak looked and it was all the way up past my elbow," Sharp said. 

From there, she was rushed to the emergency room where she was told by doctors that she had contracted a rare, but deadly flesh-eating bacterial infection called necrotizing fasciitis, CBS Los Angeles reported.

The CDC describes the infection as one "that spreads quickly in the body and can cause death," and says rapid use of antibiotics and surgery are key to stopping it.

Sharp underwent several surgeries in Knoxville and Nashville, and said it took months for her to feel normal, although her thumb is still a little numb. "The doctors told us had I waited another hour, it might not be a good situation," Sharp told WTVF. 

"I'm just lucky to be alive," she told CBS.

Sharp is currently pursuing legal action against the salon.

While most nail salons are safe, there are a few things customers can look for to make sure a salon is up to code. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, customers should first look around to see if the salon is kept neat and clean, and if technicians are washing their hands or changing their gloves before each service. They can also ask the salon how instruments are kept clean—all tools should be disposed or sanitized after each use—and check for a technician's license.

Before entering the salon, customers can take extra precaution and avoid shaving their legs 24 hours before a pedicure. Any small cuts or wounds could be susceptible to infection, which is also why technicians should never use a sharp blade to cut cuticles or remove calluses.

If all looks good, but cleanliness is still a concern, customers can also buy their own set of nail tools to be used at the salon.