Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a very rare, but potentially life threatening disease that can affect males or females at any age, but more commonly during the adolescent years. It is caused by a bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus which are normally found on the skin, in the nose, armpit, groin or vagina of one in every three people. Menstruating women, women using uterine contraceptive devices, and persons with postoperative staphylococcal wound infections are at high risk for developing TSS. The onset is usually abrupt with high fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, severe muscle pain, and headache. TSS is extremely rare. It affects 1 person in about a 100,000 population. The exact prevalence of TSS across Australia is not known.
TSS can be fatal if untreated. TSS can be treated with antibiotics, circulatory support (e.g. providing oxygen, assisting with blood flow around the body) and fluid replacement. Combination of beta lactum antibiotics and clindamycin or vancomycin is normally used to treat TSS.Research has suggested that the risk of tampon-related TSS may be associated with tampon absorbency. Women are advised to use the tampon with the lowest absorbency and to change their tampon as often as directed. Women can reduce the minimal risk of tampon-related TSS by varying tampon use with pads from time to time during their period.