Can Toxic Shock Syndrome Affect Anyone?
You may have heard about the illness toxic shock syndrome (TSS) from magazines or from friends, but do you know why it is important to be aware of this illness? Would you recognize the symptoms? TSS is an extremely rare but potentially serious illness that can affect anyone. Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a serious but uncommon bacterial infection. TSS was originally linked to the use of tampons, but it is now also known to be associated with the contraceptive sponge and diaphragm birth control methods. In rare cases, TSS has resulted from wounds or surgery incisions where bacteria have been able to enter the body and cause the infection. Anyone can get TSS – men, women and children. Half the reported cases of TSS are associated with women using tampons; half result from localized infections, for example following burns, boils, insect bites or surgery.
The risk of TSS is greater in younger people. This is because older people are more likely to have the necessary antibodies to protect them from the toxin that causes TSS. Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a type of blood poisoning that will make you feel severely ill very quickly. TSS is a rare but potentially serious illness that can develop quickly in anyone – men, women and children. TSS is caused by the common bacteria – Staphylococcus aureus – which normally live harmlessly on the skin and in the nose, armpit, groin or vagina of one in every three people.
In rare cases certain strains of these bacteria can produce toxins (poisons) that cause TSS. With early diagnosis TSS can be treated with antibiotics to kill the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, and other medicines which help counteract the symptoms. You can reduce your chances of getting toxic shock syndrome by changing your tampon frequently, at least every four to eight hours. Use the lowest absorbency tampon you can and try to alternate using tampons and sanitary napkins whenever possible. Toxic shock syndrome can recur. People who've had it once can get it again. If you've had toxic shock syndrome or a prior staph infection, don't use tampons at all.
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