Toxic Shock Syndrome
An acute bacterial infection, toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is caused by toxin-producing, penicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus, such as TSS toxin-1 and staphylococcal enterotoxins B and C. The disease primarily affects menstruating women under age 30 and is associated with continuous use of tampons during the menstrual period.
TSS incidence peaked in the mid1980s and has since declined, probably because of the withdrawal of highabsorbency tampons from the market.
Although tampons are clearly implicated in TSS, their exact role is uncertain. Theoretically, tampons may contribute to development of TSS by:
When TSS isn't related to menstruation, it seems to be linked to S. aureus infections, such as abscesses, osteomyelitis, and postsurgical infections.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of toxic shock syndrome may include:
The diagnosis of toxic shock syndrome is based on several criteria: fever, low blood pressure (hypotension), rash that peels after 1-2 weeks, and at least 3 organs with signs of dysfunction. In some cases, blood cultures may be positive for growth of S. aureus .
If you think you may have toxic shock syndrome, stop using tampons immediately and go to the casualty department of your nearest hospital. Treatment for toxic shock syndrome includes:
The following may help prevent TSS:
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