Toxic Shock Syndrome

Also known as: TSS

What is toxic shock syndrome?

TSS is the description of a variety of clinical signs and symptoms that result from the toxins produced by a bacterial infection. TSS is rare, can affect anyone but is more common in children, the elderly and young women whose tampons may become infected with bacteria.

What causes toxic shock syndrome? 

The bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (staph) and Streptococcus pyogenes (strep) are the two most common causes of toxic shock syndrome. They occur more commonly in women who leave their tampons in for too long (though manufacturing changes have reduced the number of cases), though strep infections can occur following birth, cuts , burns, or recent surgery. Other risk factors which increase the likelihood of TSS include children with diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and chronic heart and lung diseases.

What are the symptoms of toxic shock syndrome? 

Symptoms can be severe and come on suddenly. Some of them include:
  • High fevers
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • A red flat rash over most of the body
  • Low blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Body/muscle aches and pains
  • Seizures
  • Bruising

What are toxic shock syndrome care options? 

Toxic shock syndrome is a medical emergency and should be treated in a hospital. Treatments include antibiotics, intravenous fluids, supplemental oxygen (which may be administered in a variety of ways), mechanical lung ventilation, and potentially an array of other supportive medications and procedures. 

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:16:43 PM

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