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4 Things Every Woman Should Know About Toxic Shock Syndrome

November 20, 2015 2 min read

We've all heard about it in relation to tampons, but do any of us REALLY know what it's all about? Toxic Shock Snydrome (TSS), is something we don't hear about often, but when we do, it's never good. It's a life-threatening illness and the stories associated with it will horrify you. From a 24-year-old model named Lauren who lost her leg from it, to a 13-year-old British girl who died from it, it's nothing to take lightly. Listen up once and for all to these key points to keep you safe.

1. Tampons are not the only way you can get it.

It happens when toxins, which are produced by strains of Staphylococcus bacteria, enter the body and cause a high fever and rash amongst other serious complications. At least half of TSS cases are the result of tampon use, however, it can also be the result of open wounds such as a scrape or bug bite, explains Diana Hoppe, M.D., who is an ob-gyn based in Encinitas, California.

2. It's very rare.

The CDC says that only 26 cases were reported last year in the U.S. “In all my years of practice I’ve never seen a case of TSS,” notes Hoppe. However, it's still important to lower your risk by being educated of the causes. [bctt tweet="4 Things Every Woman Should Know About Toxic Shock Syndrome"]

3. Victims may suffer from flu-like symptoms.

From a 102-degree temperature, to vomiting, a rash, diarrhea, muscles aches, low blood pressure and headaches, a sudden onset of flu-like symptoms can be attributed to TSS.

4. Be mindful of and follow the 4- to 8-hour rule.

“I’ve seen a lot of women who have forgotten to remove their tampons for as long as a week or two, and they haven’t had toxic shock,” explains Hoppe. “So are you going to be fine if you forget to change it for 12 hours? Probably. But the recommendation is eight hours max to be safe.” So, if you're going to wear a tampon while you sleep, and you know you're an 8-hour plus type of person, wear a pad. Using the lowest absorbency tampon is your best bet as well, as is making sure you keep any and all wounds as clean as you can. Lastly, if you've had TSS before, you might be more likely to get it again. Were you aware of these facts about TSS? Source: Women's Health

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