Toxic Shock Syndrome

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

Woman sick with TSS

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare, but life threatening illness that is caused by toxins (poisons) that circulate in the bloodstream.

Although most TSS cases are associated with tampon use, men, children and non-menstruating woman can develop it as well.

It was surprising to find out that there are actually two types of Toxic Shock Syndrome:

  • Staphylococcus aureus: This is most commonly related to menstruating woman using tampons.
  • Streptococcal: This carries the same bacteria that is found in strep throat and often comes from a skin infection and is noted to be the more serious form TSS.

Possible areas of infection can include:

  • Nose (nasal packing)
  • Vagina (super absorbent tampon use)
  • Surgical wound
  • Childbirth
  • Any skin wound i.e chickenpox

The onset of Toxic Shock Syndrome can bring on mild symptoms such as a low-grade fever, muscle aches, chills and just a feeling of general discomfort, uneasiness, or ill health. You can experience these 2-3 days before the disease develops.

After onset, the TSS symptoms will change and may include the following:

  • Fever greater than 102°F
  • Rash (The rash of toxic shock syndrome is a red sunburn like rash that covers most of the body. It is flat, not raised, and turns white if pressed)
  • Headache (very common)
  • Muscle Aches
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lightheadedness or fainting (especially upon standing)
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Low blood pressure

In an effort to try and prevent menstrual-related toxic shock syndrome, suggests woman should start by not using tampons, especially the super-absorbent variety.

All wounds should be kept clean and monitored for signs of infection.

TIP:  You should call your doctor if a high fever is present without a rash as well as some of the TSS symptoms.

TIP:  If you notice that your child has a fever with a red rash and some of the TSS symptoms, you should contact their pediatrician.

Source:,  Toxic Shock Syndrome.

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