Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare, life-threatening bacterial infection. It occurs when the bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus andStreptococcus pyogenes invade the body's bloodstream and release poisonous exotoxins. The symptoms include high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, a sunburn-like rash, red eyes, dizziness, lightheadedness, muscle aches and low blood pressure. TSS is an extremely rare condition. Less than 40 people are affected across the country. TSS is most commonly associated with women who use high-absorbency tampons. Anyone can develop TSS if they have a cut, wound, insect bite or burn that gets infected with the bacteria.
TSS can be fatal if untreated. Treatment is with antibiotic drugs (combination of pencillin and clindamycin). Intravenous fluids are also required to raise the blood pressure. They also help to prevent dehydration and organ damage. In severe cases, it may be necessary to surgically amputate an extremity of the body. The link between TSS and tampon use is unclear, but research suggests that tampon absorbency may be a factor. Hence women are advised to avoid hyperabsorbent tampons.