Toxic shock syndrome

Fact Checked

Toxic shock syndrome is an uncommon but serious medical condition brought about by a bacterial infection. It is triggered about by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that enters the bloodstream and releases toxins.

Even though the condition is linked to using superabsorbent tampons among menstruating women, it can also affect individuals of all ages.

What are the indications?

The signs of toxic shock syndrome vary for every individual. Generally, the symptoms arise abruptly.

Some of the common indications include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Sudden fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • Rashes
    Toxic shock syndrome
    The signs of toxic shock syndrome vary for every individual.
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Redness of the mouth, eyes and throat

A doctor must be seen right away if these symptoms are present after using tampons or after sustaining a skin injury or surgery.

Management of toxic shock syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome is considered as a medical emergency. In some cases, the individual must stay in an intensive care unit for several days for close monitoring.

Intravenous antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor to deal with the bacterial infection. This requires the placement of a peripherally inserted intravenous catheter. Antibiotics are given 6-8 weeks at home.

Other treatment options might be based on the underlying cause. If a tampon triggered the condition, the doctor will remove the foreign object from the body. In case an open wound is the cause, the doctor will decide to drain blood or pus from the wound to allow the infection to clear up.

Other additional treatment options include:

  • Intravenous fluids to fight dehydration
  • Drugs to stabilize the blood pressure
  • Gamma globulin shots to suppress the inflammation and provide a boost to the immune system

What is the outlook?

Toxic shock syndrome can be deadly if left untreated. Call for emergency assistance or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department if the symptoms are suspected. Immediate treatment can lower the chances of ending up with major organ damage.

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