Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)

Toxic Shock Syndrome is an extremely rare but very serious illness that can occur rapidly in men, women and children. The illness may be fatal so you need to be aware of it.
This article is to help you understand and reduce the possible risk. We will also show you how to recognise the symptoms and what to do if you or a friend thinks you’ve got it.

Watch Video

What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?

TSS is a rare, but serious illness. The good news is that it can be treated successfully if recognised quickly enough - and most people make a full recovery.

What causes Toxic Shock Syndrome?

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. Symptoms can develop very quickly and may seem like flu to begin with.

Reduce the risk / TSS Symptom Checklist:

- Sudden high fever usually over 39°C (102°F)
- Vomiting
- Diarrhoea
- A sunburn-like rash
- Sore throat
- Dizziness or fainting
- Not all these symptoms may be present at the same time

What to do:

In the unlikely event that you have these symptoms during your period, remove your tampon and consult your doctor immediately. Tell him you have been menstruating and have been using a tampon. If you have had these symptoms, or have previously been diagnosed with Toxic Shock Syndrome, consult your doctor before using tampons.

Reducing the risk:

- Wash your hands before and after inserting a tampon
- Change your tampon every four to eight hours or more often if needed
- Use the lowest absorbency tampon for your flow
- Use a pad or panty-liner from time to time during your period
- Never use two tampons at once
- Always remember to remove your last tampon at the end of your period
- If you need more information about TSS, visit