Toxic Shock Syndrome develops when the common bacteria, Staphylococcus Aureus, produce a toxin which is absorbed into the bloodstream. The toxin rapidly overwhelms the immune system and attacks the major organs, leading to kidney failure, collapse of the lungs and in severe cases, cardiac arrest. Alarmingly, half of all known cases of Toxic Shock are women using TAMPONS.
- Sore throat
- Aching muscles
- High temperature; over 102 degrees F
- Watery diarrhea
- Red rash
- Very low blood pressure
Only one or two symptoms may occur. They do not necessarily occur all at once and may not persist.
What You Should Do
- Remove the tampon (save it if possible)
- Seek IMMEDIATE medical attention
- Inform the doctor that you have been using tampons
- Take TSS information leaflet with you
After Effects of TSS?
Survivors of Toxic Shock Syndrome may have been hospitalized for weeks and there is usually a long recovery period. They may have suffered:
- Loss of fingers and toes due to gangrene
- Permanent kidney and liver damage
- Deafness and blindness
- Peeling skin, and loss of nails and hair
- Continual infections
- Short term memory loss
- No energy for months or even years
- Psychological and emotional distress
To Reduce the Risk of TSS
- Only use tampons made of organic cotton
- Use the lowest absorbency needed at each stage of your period
- Avoid using tampons continuously during a period. Alternate with sanitary pads at night so the toxins have time to dissipate.
- Use a pad at the end of your period
- Change tampons every 4 to 6 hours
- Don’t use tampons if you’ve had any unusual discharge
- Wash your hands before and after use and handle the tampon as little as possible
- Alert your family and friends to the symptoms and emergency action required
- Read and keep this information leaflet or the leaflet inside the tampon packet
If you have ever had TSS, NEVER – EVER use tampons again!
What Causes TSS?
There has never been a case of TSS caused by the use of all-cotton tampons.
Communication is essential
The Bottom Line
If you have been using tampons and you experience flu-like symptoms and a fever, remove your tampon and go to the hospital immediately. Insist on getting blood work. If it is caught early enough, you have a much better chance of survival.
Your Life Depends On It!
Special thanks to Dr. Patrick Schlievert (TSS expert and professor at the University of Minnesota) and to Dr. Philip Tierno (TSS expert and professor at New York University School of Medicine) for their research on tampon related TSS.