Toxic shock syndrome is a rare but serious medical condition caused by toxins produced by a bacterial infection.
Although toxic shock syndrome has been linked to tampon use in menstruating women, this condition can affect men, children, and people of all ages due to different reasons.
Infection usually occurs when bacteria enters the body through an opening in the skin. For instance, bacteria can enter through a cut, sore, or other wound.
Risk factors for this condition include a recent skin burn, skin infection, or surgery, recent childbirth, also the use of a diaphragm or vaginal sponge to prevent pregnancy.
Symptoms of toxic shock syndrome can vary from person to person. In most cases, symptoms appear suddenly. Common signs of this condition include:
a sudden fever
low blood pressure
redness of eyes, mouth, and throat
You might attribute symptoms of toxic shock syndrome to another medical condition, such as the flu. However, if you experience the above symptoms after using tampons or after a surgery or skin injury, contact your doctor immediately.
Your doctor may make a diagnosis of toxic shock syndrome based on a physical examination and your symptoms. He may also check your blood and urine for bacteria, and assess your liver and kidney functions. They may also take swabs of cells from your cervix, vagina, and throat to be analyzed for the bacteria that cause toxic shock syndrome.
Toxic shock syndrome is a medical emergency. Some people have to stay in the intensive care unit for several days. Your doctor will most likely prescribe an intravenous (IV) antibiotics to help you fight the bacterial infection.
Other treatment methods for toxic shock syndrome vary depending on the cause. For example, if a vaginal sponge or tampon triggered toxic shock, your doctor may need to remove this foreign object from your body. If an open wound or surgical wound caused your toxic shock syndrome, the doctor will drain pus or blood from the wound to help clear up any infection.
You will also receive medications to stabilize blood pressure, boost your body’ immune system, and IV fluids to fight dehydration.
If left untreated, Toxic Shock Syndrome can lead to:
Certain precautions can reduce your risk of developing toxic shock syndrome. For example:
changing your tampon/sanitary napkin every four to eight hours
washing your hands frequently to remove any bacteria
keeping cuts and surgical incisions clean and changing dressings often
Remember: if you notice any of the early warning signs of TSS on yourself or a family member who’s had a wound, infection, surgery, or her period recently, please contact your doctor or drive to the emergency room immediately- to save their lives.
Wishing you all the best.