Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) can be the result of using a tampon but many don’t realize it can be also the result of recent surgery, skin infections, or burns. TSS can be deadly in more than 50 percent of cases, stated the National Institutes of Health.
If you are suffering from of the following symptoms, visit the emergency room immediately and contact your health care provider. Quick action is crucial if you have TSS.
Symptoms of TSS include:
• Sudden high fever (over 102 degrees)
• Low blood pressure
• Bloodshot eyes
• Sunburn-like rash
• Muscle aches
• Sore throat
According to the National Institutes of Health, TSS "is caused by a toxin produced by certain types of Staphylococcus bacteria. A similar syndrome, called toxic shock-like syndrome (TSLS), can be caused by Streptococcal bacteria. Not all staph or strep infections cause toxic shock syndrome."
The Nemours Foundation states, "TSS is a systemic illness, which means that it affects the whole body. It can be caused by one of two different types of bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes — although toxic shock that is caused by the Streptococcus bacteria is rarer. These bacteria can produce toxins. In some people whose bodies can't fight these toxins, the immune system reacts. This reaction causes the symptoms associated with TSS.”
TSS can affect men and women. Children and postmenopausal women can also be afflicted with TSS.
TSS in tampon users can be prevented. The Food and Drug Administration recommends avoiding any issues with tampon use. The following tips are further recommendations by the FDA:
• Change your tampon at least every 4-8 hours
• Consider switching between pads and tampons
• Select the lowest absorbency for your flow
• Don't use tampons between periods
• Follow package directions for insertion
• Know the warning signs of TSS
Watch for additional risk factors for TSS. These factors may include:
• Wound infection after surgery
• Foreign bodies or packings (such as those used to stop nosebleeds)
• Recently having a baby
• Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) infection, commonly called a Staph infection
Treatment for TSS includes the following:
• Removal of any foreign materials, such as tampons, vaginal sponges, or nasal packing
• Drainage of sites infection (such as a surgical wound)
• Antibiotics for any infection (may be given through an IV)
• Medicines to control blood pressure
• Fluids through a vein (IV)
• Intravenous gamma globulin in severe cases
• Staying in the hospital intensive care unit (ICU) for monitoring
• Dialysis (if severe kidney problems are present)
"TeensHealth." Toxic Shock Syndrome. Web. 30 June 2013.
"Menstruation and the Menstrual Cycle Fact Sheet." Womenshealth.gov. Web. 30 June 2013.
"Toxic Shock Syndrome: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Web. 30 June 2013.
Reviewed July 1, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith