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A hardcore Disney fan feared she was going to die after getting a tattoo of the Little Mermaid and suffering an extreme allergic reaction which saw scabs 'burst through' her favourite character.
Heather Godfrey, 25, endured two weeks of unbearable agony after a suspected reaction to the numbing spray that was used on the £250 detailed design.
The infection turned the once colourful body art into a horrific scab-covered mess.
The self-proclaimed tattoo addict from Ashford, Kent even feared for her life when doctors told her that she may have sepsis but luckily antibiotics were effective in battling her infection.
Heather said: "Within 24 hours of having the tattoo done, I started to have quite a high temperature, and just generally felt really unwell.
"The morning after that, I looked at the tattoo and it had become very red and tender, hot and swollen. It quite dramatically went bad.
"Then as the days went by, the tattoo broke out in hives that were bursting open.
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"It was really painful, I couldn't walk on that leg. I went to the hospital on the third day, where I got my first round of antibiotics. But they just didn't work – my infection got worse and worse.
"It was really scary because at one point, sepsis was mentioned, and they were talking about putting me on an IV.
"My leg ballooned in size and there was concern I may have a blood clot. I was really down because I was in so much pain and it wasn't improving. Nobody knew what to do. I felt so helpless.
"They said it was like the infection was bursting out of my skin. They put antiseptic bandages and dressings on it and gave me antibiotics."
The tattoo, which showed Disney princess Ariel alongside her fish friends, remains scarred and damaged from the ordeal.
Heather said: "Initially, I'd thought the blue ink on the tattoo was the cause of the reaction. That's because the worst bits of the reaction came from the parts where the blue bubbles were. It seemed to originate from there.
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"But we came to the conclusion that the allergic reaction was likely due to a numbing spray that had been used. I'd never had them on my tattoos before."
Heather has praised the tattoo artist for her continuous support throughout the ordeal.
Heather said: "I was in touch with the tattoo artist all the way through. She was really supportive, and she was upset about what had happened.
"The Little Mermaid is something I watched growing up with my grandfather. He passed away from cancer when I was 11, so it's a special memory I have of the film.
"When I look at the tattoo now, it's just a reminder of how much pain I was in."
The painful experience has not put off Heather, who is a self-admitted 'tattoo enthusiast and addict'
Heather said: "I love the art of tattoos and how they help you express yourself. It's almost like collecting physical art. Some people go out and buy paintings, I put them on my body.
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