Toxic Shock Syndrome – Shadowy Killer of Young Women.
Toxic Shock Syndrome develops when a common bacteria produces a toxin which is absorbed into the bloodstream. The toxin rapidly overwhelms the immune system and attacks the major organs, leading to kidney failure, collapse of the lungs and in severe cases, cardiac arrest.
On June 13, 2010, Amy Elifritz, age 20, died from Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
Amy was on her period and using tampons containing super absorbent fibers when she became ill. Everyone wrongly assumed she had the flu.
The symptoms of TSS are in many ways similar to the flu:
High temperature; over 102 degrees F
Very low blood pressure
It’s important to know that only one or two symptoms may occur. They do not necessarily occur all at once and may not persist.
What should you do if you experience these symptoms?
Remove the tampon (save it if possible)
Seek IMMEDIATE medical attention
Inform the doctor that you have been using tampons
Take a TSS information leaflet with you
How can you reduce the risk of TSS?
Only use tampons made of organic cotton
Use the lowest absorbency needed at each stage of your period
Avoid using tampons continuously during a period. Alternate with sanitary pads at night so the toxins have time to dissipate
Use a pad at the end of your period
Change tampons every 4 to 6 hours – ideally every 2 to 3 hours
Don't use tampons if you've had any unusual discharge
Wash your hands before and after use and handle the tampon as little as possible
Use menstrual cups instead of tampons
Alert your family and friends to the symptoms and emergency action required
Read and keep this information and/or the leaflet inside each box of tampons
If you’ve had TSS never use tampons again
You ARE Loved was founded after Amy’s death by her mother, Lisa, to raise awareness about tampon related Toxic Shock Syndrome and provide factual menstrual information.
Inside each box of tampons is a TSS warning/information leaflet. Please take a moment and read it. Or, view You ARE Loved’s informational brochure and then share this information with your friends and family.
I hope you will visit our website and take a moment to look over the TSS stories pages Feel free to contact me, especially if you or a loved one has had TSS.
Also, if you would like more information about safer alternatives to tampons and tips on using them, please follow me on Twitter or contact me through our nonprofit’s website.
Bio: Suzan Hutchinson is a survivor of TSS and Director of Connectivity for You ARE Loved. She wants every woman to be empowered to make informed decisions regarding safe and healthy menstruation.
Thank you Suzan for taking the time to share this with readers and for all your work through YAL.