Toxic Shock Syndrom

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About Toxic Shock Syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a serious but uncommon infection caused by either Staphylococcus aureus bacteria or by streptococcus bacteria.

Originally linked to the use of tampons, especially high-absorbency ones and those that are not changed frequently, it's now also known to be associated with the contraceptive sponge and diaphragm birth control methods.

TSS also can arise from wounds secondary to minor trauma or surgery incisions where bacteria have been able to enter the body and cause the infection.

TSS also can affect anyone who has any type of staph infection, including pneumonia, abscess, skin or wound infection, the blood infection septicemia, or the bone infection osteomyelitis.

Most often, streptococcal TSS appears after bacteria have invaded areas of injured skin, such as cuts and scrapes, surgical wounds, and even chickenpox blisters.

Symptoms of TSS can include sudden high fever, a faint feeling, diarrhea, headache, a rash, and muscle aches. If your child has these symptoms, call your doctor right away.


Toxic shock syndrome starts suddenly, often with high fever (temperature at least 102° F [38.8° C]), a rapid drop in blood pressure (with lightheadedness or fainting), vomiting, diarrhea, headache, sore throat, or muscle aches.

A sunburn-like rash may appear anywhere on the body, including the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. A person also might have bloodshot eyes and an unusual redness under the eyelids or inside the mouth (and vagina in females). The area around an infected wound can become swollen, red, and tender, or may not even appear infected.

Other symptoms may include confusion or other mental changes, decreased urination, fatigue and weakness, and thirst.

If TSS is untreated, organs such as the liver and kidneys may begin to fail, and problems such as seizures, bleeding, and heart failure can develop.


The bacteria that cause toxic shock...
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