Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)

What is TSS?

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is caused by the bacterium Stapylococcus aureus, which is commonly found in the nose and vagina of normal healthy people. Most strains of the bacteria do not cause TSS, but some do. Some women do not have the antibodies to protect themselves against these toxic strains and this can lead to TSS.


How can I reduce the risk of TSS?

  • Use the lowest absorbency tampon to control your flow
  • Change your tampon every 4 to 6 hours
  • If you use a tampon overnight, insert a new tampon before going to bed and change it as soon as you wake up
  • Consider using a pad at night instead of a tampon
  • Read the leaflet contained in every box of tampons for up-to-date information


What are the symptoms of TSS?

Some of the symptoms of TSS are much the same as the flu. You can become very ill, very quickly.


Symptoms include:

  • High fever (>38degrees C)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • A rash that looks like sunburn
  • Muscle aches
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting or near fainting when standing up.


If you have any of these symptoms, remove your tampon and consult a doctor immediately, telling him/her that you have been using a tampon and are concerned about TSS.