Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is an acute, potentially fatal condition caused by the release of exotoxins by bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. Toxic shock syndrome affects menstruating women, especially those who use super-absorbent tampons. It is characterized by high fever, rash, hypotension, multiorgan failure (involving at least 3 or more organ systems), and desquamation of the palms and soles, 1-2 weeks after the onset of acute illness. The incidence of TSS is extremely rare in Switzerland. Studies indicate only 3-4 are affected in 7 million people. It can affect men, women and children alike.
TSS can be life threatening if left untreated. It is usually treated with antibiotics, and drugs to lower temperature, and large amounts of fluids to keep your blood pressure up. Intravenous antibiotic combinations of pencillins and clindamycin are given to help prevent recurrence. Menstruating females should minimize use of items like tampons, diaphragms, and sponges. Tampons should be changed frequently, and superabsorbent tampons should be avoided. Women diagnosed with TSS should avoid tampon use in the future.