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What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?

What is toxic shock syndrome? Symptoms, precautions, and more

Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS, is one of those conditions that many of us have heard of, but few people know a lot about. We know that it's incredibly rare, and in truth, TSS is a dangerous illness that can sometimes even be fatal. First things first, what causes TSS? And how do you know if you have it?

Toxic shock syndrome is caused by bacteria

TSS is believed to be caused by a toxin-producing strain of the bacteria ‘Staphylococcus aureus’ and can occur in both men and women of any age as a result of burns, insect bites, or surgery. However, half of all cases occur in people who have a menstrual cycle, so it’s especially important to take note of the symptoms, and take the necessary precautions to avoid it. The good news? There are many ways to prevent Toxic Shock Syndrome and you can find them here.

High Fever

TSS may seem a little like flu (at first)

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

But it quickly progresses

Of course, all of these symptoms might not occur at the same time. If you’re experiencing some 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

Just so that you know, we also provide information about TSS inside every packet of Lil-Lets tampons. We’re always updating this information too, so it's important to read the leaflets regularly, especially if you’re new to tampons, or have taken a break from them after pregnancy or childbirth.

The good news? Toxic shock syndrome is serious. But it’s also preventable.

Reduce your risk of TSS by following these tips.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after inserting a tampon.
  • Change your tampon every four to eight hours (or more, if necessary).
  • Use the lowest absorbency tampon for your flow.
  • Switch to using a sanitary pad or panty 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.

Fortunately, Toxic Shock Syndrome is treatable and most people recover fully. For more info on Toxic Shock Syndrome, www.tssis.com

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Frequently Asked Question: Periods

Can I have sex when I'm on my period?

Yes you can. In rare instances, you can still get pregnant. You should also bear in mind that you can still catch a sexually transmitted disease when on your period

Will I smell when I’m on my period?

You might notice a slight odour when you're on your period. Tampons can help with this because they're worn inside your body. If you prefer to use pads, make sure to change them regularly if you notice a strong odour.

How will the contraceptive pill affect my periods?

Some brands of contraceptive pills can reduce your flow or shorten the length of your period. Your doctor or nurse will discuss this with you during your consultation.

My periods are really heavy, which products should I use?

You’ve got a few options available. Lil-lets Super Plus tampons have the highest absorbency in our range and are great for heavy periods. If you prefer to use an applicator tampon, our super tampons are a really good choice for medium to heavy flow. If you use pads, we suggest using our Night Maxi Pad, which is the highest absorbency pad within our range

What can I do to relieve my period pain?

Although you may not feel like doing it at the time, stretching or gentle exercise will ease this discomfort. Healthy eating is also known to help relieve any period pain. Alternatively, treat yourself to a relaxing bath or cuddle up on the sofa with a hot water bottle. If none of these help, your local pharmacy can give you guidance on suitable pain relief.

How long does a period last?

This can vary from 2 to 5 days and could be up to 10.

Is it okay to have a bath or shower when I have my period?

Yes, it's important to keep yourself clean during your period and hot water can help soothe cramps too!

What do you find is the most effective way to deal with menstrual cramps?

Menstrual cramps vary from menstruator to menstruator. For some, period cramps are little to no pain, whereas for others, it can be a truly excruciating experience. Thus dealing with period cramps can vary. We recommend exploring to opt for home treatments instead of relying heavily on over-the-counter medicine. These two options can assist with cramps:

• Getting regular exercise can help with blood flow and may reduce cramping.
• Put a heating pad or a hot water bottle on your belly, or taking a warm bath. The heat improves blood flow and may ease the pain.

However, if pain does persist, it is recommended to chat to your doctor or gynae

Can I wash my hair during my period?

You totally can! We've often been fed a lot of misinformation. That's not the case - you can take care of yourself (including washing your hair, why not throw in a face mask?), exercise if you're up to it, be around your loved ones and work as normal. Besides the pain and discomfort which accompanies some people's periods, you can continue on as normal.

Is it okay to swim when you're on your period?

Swimming during your period isn't a problem. However, you will want to use a tampon when swimming so you don't bleed on your swimsuit. Pads won't work and will just fill with water. The tampon won't fall out if it is inserted correctly. Go and make a splash!

Have more questions on periods?

Got a question you’ve been too embarrassed to ask? Wondering if what you are experiencing every month is normal?

Join our Lil-Lets Talk community for empowering conversations for people with periods.

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