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5 things every woman needs to know about toxic shock syndrome
Think TSS is a thing of the past? Think again. Make sure you know these 5 things, so you don't get toxic shock syndrome. - photo by Melinda Fox
To many people, toxic shock syndrome is a great mystery, a warning on the side of the tampon box for women and some 'period thing' to men. But TSS is dangerous. It is a bacterial infection caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. The bacterium produces toxins which cause the body to drop in blood pressure depriving organs of oxygen. This can be fatal.

There are two groups of women in this world: those paranoid about toxic shock syndrome and those who are unconcerned. Both parties have merit because although TSS is avoidable, it's still important to be vigilant about preventing it.

Here are 5 things you should know about TSS:

1. Symptoms are similar to the flu

TSS symptoms are similar to the flu. You get a sudden fever over 102 degrees, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting, sunburn like rashes, and headaches.

Because TSS acts quickly, if you are wearing a tampon when you notice these symptoms you should see a doctor quickly to prevent the spread of toxins.

2. TSS isnt just caused by tampons

TSS is most common in menstruating women through the improper use of tampons. But although 50% of all TSS cases are caused by tampons, TSS can also occur through bacteria infecting open wounds.

This means that menstruating women arent the only people who can get toxic shock syndrome. Men, children, and women, not on their periods, can also get it if not practicing proper hygiene and care of wounds.

3. Change your tampon every 4 to 8 hours

Many women forget to change their tampons for days and they havent gotten TSS, but why would you want to take that risk?

Doctors recommend you change your tampon every 4 to 8 hours and use the lowest absorbent tampon possible. This means you shouldn't be using a tampon at the end of your period if a panty liner would be sufficient, in anticipation of bleeding or for other vaginal discharge.

If you need over 8 hours of coverage, menstrual cups are a good alternative. With a menstrual cup you should be safe to go 12 hours between changings.

4. TSS is treatable

Toxic shock syndrome can be treated with antibiotics and fluids like any other bacterial illness, but you will probably have to stay in the hospital to monitor the spread of bacteria.

5. Its rare

Most women use tampons and pretty much everyone has gotten a cut in the last year, but out of all those people, there were only 324 cases of TSS in 2015. In other words, while it's important to be aware of toxic shock syndrome, as long as you are careful and practice good hygiene, you should be fin