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Toxic Shock Syndrome Awareness

From a very young age, we learned about proper hygiene from just about everyone. Our parents, teachers and doctors taught us about staying safe from germs. Whether it was learning never to eat food that drops on the floor or humming the “happy birthday” song twice as a proper hand-washing method, the nasty germs were never going to get us if we followed the rules.

As adults, we wipe down shopping cart handles until they’re sparkle. Sneezing into our elbows and opening bathroom doors with a load of paper towels helps germ-proof our lives. Hand sanitizers are a household necessity and every woman we know has one with her at all times. However, sometimes that one bad bacteria will hurt us if we aren’t careful.

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)

There are some alarming infections out there that need more than a Band-Aid to fix them. Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is one of those especially harmful conditions that requires professional treatment. As infections go, TSS is very rare with only 337 cases reported in the United States in 2015. It can affect men, women and children of all ages.

Bacteria Can Sneak up on You

Bad bacteria can sometimes creep up on us when we least expect it. TSS can happen for men, women and children who are exposed to staph bacteria from an open wound, cut, burn or post-surgical infections. TSS is a cluster of symptoms that involve many systems of the body. Certain bacterial infections release toxins into the bloodstream, which then spreads the toxins to the body’s organs, which can cause damage and illness, according to the Johns Hopkins Health Library.

Know The Symptoms

The symptoms of toxic shock syndrome can vary from person to person and appear quickly – within two days after the bacteria infects you, according to WebMD. Symptoms of TSS may include:

  • Sudden high fever, greater than 102 degrees F
  • Muscle aches
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Flat, red rash that covers most areas of the body
  • Low blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Kidney or other organ failures

Healthy Hygene for Women

According to healthline.com, there are certain precautions you can take to cut your risk of getting TSS. In addition, women who have a history of getting toxic shock syndrome should avoid wearing tampons as the disease can recur. For women who are of menstruating age, it is important to follow some simple, feminine hygiene tips:

  • Change tampons every 4 to 8 hours.
  • Wear a low-absorbent tampon or sanitary napkin during your periods.
  • Wear a sanitary napkin on light-flow days.
  • Wash hands frequently to remove any bacteria.
  • Keep cuts and surgical incisions clean and change dressings often.

Keeping safe from germs was the name of the game for us as kids. And as adults, we should be alert for those infections and bacteria that may do us harm.


Educational Resources


The information on this site is intended to raise awareness and understanding of specific health issues. It should not be used for diagnosis or a substitute for healthcare by your physician.

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