Sarah Silverman is best known for her edgy comedy (and videos), so at first glance, the title of this piece seems like a joke. How could anyone almost die from a sore throat anyways? But this is a case where truth is much stranger than comedic fiction--and hers is a cautionary tale non-celebrities should pay attention to.
The comedian posted an explanation for her disappearance on Facebook, saying she'd gone to the doctor to have her sore throat looked at. She was sent immediately to the hospital with a "freak case of epiglottitis," she wrote.
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Epi-say-what? The epiglottis is small piece of tissue in your windpipe. When it swells--from an injury, from scalding (drinking an overly hot drink, say), or from a bacterial infection like strep--it can block the flow of air into your lungs and kill you. The signs are a severe sore throat, trouble swallowing or breathing, and a suddenly hoarse voice. If you come down with these kinds of symptoms, you need to stay upright and get to a doctor or ER at once.
One study from 2010 found that there were roughly 4,000 cases a year; the average age of the patient was around 45, like Silverman. Most people, again like Silverman, wind up in the hospital for about four to five days. That's because treatment consists of placing a breathing tube in the patient's windpipe and prescribing massive doses of antibiotics to clear up the infection. Silverman stayed in the ICU for five days--and doesn't remember most of what happened. But given how quickly things can go south with epiglottitis, she is, as she writes, "insanely lucky to be alive."
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And if you're interested, you can read her Facebook post on what she went through--and how she recovered. Then check out these fun facts of another famous comedian--that would be Melissa McCarthy--in the gallery below.
She's been every size in the world, McCarthy told More magazine. "Parts of my 20s, I was in great shape, but I didn't appreciate it. If I was a 6 or an 8, I thought, 'Why aren't I a 2 or a 4?'"