A woman who survived third degree burns now has to wear compression garments on her face for 23 hours a day.
New pictures show April Charlesworth, 28, almost completely back to her former self a year and a half after she received terrifying burns to her face, chest and hands from a friend’s practical joke gone wrong.
The mum had been at her local pub when one of the group poured ethanol on a table heater to make it spark, causing an alcoholic bottle to set on fire and explode. The impact burned April and her cousin.
Not realising the extent of her injuries, she initially refused to go to the hospital as she wished to go home to her son, but was taken in an ambulance shortly afterwards and placed under an induced coma for four days.
April then spent two months on the burns ward, and says the hardest moment came when her son “wouldn’t come near me” as he was “scared of what I looked like all bandaged up.”
For her treatment April now has to wear face and chest garments for 23 hours a day, which she says are working but are hugely uncomfortable.
She revealed: “They scratch and itch and I can barely breathe in them but the swelling and redness on my chest have already gone down and they are exceedingly helpful.
“I have a plastic mask I wear on my face with holes in the eye, nose and mouth.
“I also sleep with the compression mask on, it was exceedingly uncomfortable and suffocating, to begin with. I could barely breathe and only got two-three hours of sleep some nights.
“I have to have the mask altered every two months as the swelling and scars on my face change and it stops fitting right.”
April additionally requires laser surgery every six weeks for her scars.
Despite being a self-confessed “party girl” prior to the accident, she says she has been left with social anxiety which means she fears leaving the house.
The mum would now “rather just sit at home with my little boy”, and feels unable to go out on her own as she fears she will be hurt.
She finds a connection with the outside world by providing regular updates of her recovery on Instagram and TikTok, and says this has enabled her to find support from community of burns survivors who send her messages and thank her for sharing her experience.
April says she is realistic with followers about the “good and the bad” of her treatment, and takes comfort in helping fellow survivors “share stuff with other people as well”.
“It’s helped me get through it like, and loads of people say how much it’s helped them knowing that I’m able to share my journey”, she reflected.