Toxic Shock Syndrome – Introduction, Causes | Pediatric Oncall
TOXIC SHOCK SYNDROME
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Last Updated : 1/2/2014
Jagdish Kathwate
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What is toxic Shock Syndrome?
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a serious but uncommon infectioncaused by either Staphylococcus aureus (often called staph) andStreptococcus pyogenes (often called strep) bacteria, with most cases related to staph bacteria.TSS was originally linked to the use of tampons because the earliest cases, in the late 1970s, were related to super-absorbent tampons. Research led to better tampons and better habits for using them, such as changing them often. The number of TSS cases dropped dramatically.Today about half of all TSS cases are linked to menstruation.But TSS isn't strictly related to tampons. The contraceptive sponge and the diaphragm, two types of birth control methods, have been linked to TSS. It also can affect someone who has any type of staph infection, including pneumonia, an abscess, a skin or wound infection, the blood infection septicemia, or the bone infectionosteomyelitis.Most strep-related TSS cases are due to bacteria getting into areas of injured skin, such as cuts and scrapes, surgical wounds, and even chickenpox blisters.

What are Symptoms of TSS?
sudden high fever, a faint feeling, diarrhea, headache, a rash, and muscle aches. Toxic shock syndrome starts suddenly, often with high fever (temperature at least 102°F [38.8°C]), a rapid drop in blood pressure (with lightheadedness or fainting), confusion, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, or muscle aches.A sunburn-like rash may appear anywhere on the body, including the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. A person also might have bloodshot eyes and an unusual redness under the eyelids or inside the mouth (and in the vagina in females). The area around an infected wound can become swollen, red, and tender, but might not even appear infected.Other symptoms can include confusion or other mental changes, decreased urination, fatigue and weakness, and thirst.If TSS is untreated, organs such as the liver and kidneys may begin to fail, and problems such as seizures, bleeding, and heart failure can develop.

How to prevent?
The bacteria that cause toxic shock syndrome can be carried on unwashed hands so good hand washing is extremely important.Girls can reduce their risk of TSS by either avoiding tampons or alternating them with sanitary napkins. Girls who use only tampons should choose ones with the lowest absorbency that will handle menstrual flow, and change the tampons often. On low-flow days, girls should use pads instead of tampons.Between menstrual periods, store tampons away from heat and moisture (where bacteria can grow) — for example, in a bedroom rather than in a bathroom closet.Because staphylococcus bacteria are often carried on hands, it's important for girls to wash their hands thoroughly before and after inserting a tampon.Any female who has recovered from TSS should not use tampons.Clean and bandage.

How to diagnosis and what is treatment for TSS
TSS is a medical emergency.Depending on the symptoms, a doctor may see you in the office or refer you to a hospital emergency department for immediate evaluation and testing.If doctors suspect TSS, they will probably start intravenous (IV) fluids and antibiotics as soon as possible.

References

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Jagdish Kathwate
MD Pediatrics. Assistant Professor, Government Medical College, Aurangabad, India.


First Created : 1/23/2013
Last Updated : 1/2/2014

References

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