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How Much Do You Really Know About Toxic Shock Syndrome?

You may have heard of Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS, especially if you use tampons — or if it scared you off them! However, not many of us know that much about it or even the difference between what’s fact and what’s fiction.

What most of us do know is that it is a serious illness that if not treated quickly can be fatal. While it’s worth remembering that TSS is incredibly rare, we’re going to fill you in on everything you need to know and debunk a few myths in the process.

Toxic Shock Syndrome, what causes it?

TSS is caused by the bacteria ‘Staphlyococcus aureus’, which normally live harmlessly on the skin, or in the bodies of about one third of the population. In rare cases, certain strains of these bacteria can produce toxins (poisons) that cause TSS. Anyone can get it, regardless of your age or gender and it can occur as a result of infections following burns, scalds, wounds, or surgery. However, half of all TSS cases occur in people who menstruate and use internal period products such as tampons, menstrual cups, or diaphragms. Although the exact relationship between using these products and their link to TSS is still not clear, by knowing how to use tampons correctly the risks of contracting TSS can be reduced.

TSS symptoms may seem a little like flu 

Toxic Shock Syndrome symptoms can develop very quickly and may seem like flu. Look out for a sudden high fever (usually over 39°C), dizziness, fainting, vomiting, diarrhoea, sunburn-like rashes, sore throat, or muscle ache. However, these symptoms might not occur all at the same time. So if you’re experiencing any of them during your period and are feeling worried about TSS, remove your tampon and seek medical advice immediately.

Check your box of tampons for info

We provide information about TSS inside every pack of Lil-Lets tampons and we’re always updating it, so it's important to read the leaflets regularly, especially if you’re new to tampons, or haven’t used tampons for a while. Knowledge is power!

Reducing the risk of TSS

Whilst Toxic Shock Syndrome is serious it’s very rare and there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after inserting a tampon.
  • Change your tampon at least every four to eight hours or more, if necessary
  • Use the lowest absorbency tampon for your flow. As your flow changes throughout your period, you may need to use different absorbency/sizes of tampon to ensure you are always using the lowest absorbency to suit you.
  • Switch to using a pad or liner every now and then during your period.
  • Never use two tampons at once.
  • Remember to remove your tampon at the end of your period.
  • If you wear tampons while you sleep, insert a fresh one before bed and remove it as soon as you wake up in the morning.

Treatment for TSS

Fortunately, Toxic Shock Syndrome is treatable, and most people recover fully. With early diagnosis, TSS can be treated with antibiotics to kill the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, and other medicines are prescribed to help counteract the symptoms.

For more info on Toxic Shock Syndrome, www.tssis.com

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