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Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a cluster of symptoms that involve many systems of the body. Certain bacterial infections release toxins into the blood stream. These then spread the toxins to many body organs. This can cause severe damage and illness.
The following bacteria commonly cause TSS:
TSS from Staphylococcus infections was identified in the late 1970s and early 1980s when highly absorbent tampons were widely used by menstruating women. Due to changes in how tampons are made, the incidence of tampon-induced TSS has declined.
TSS from Streptococcus infections is most commonly seen in children and the elderly. Other people at risk include those with diabetes, weak immune system, chronic lung disease, or heart disease.
The following are risk factors for toxic syndrome:
Symptoms of TSS involve many systems and may look like other infections. While each person may experience symptoms differently, the following are the most common symptoms of Staphylococcal TSS:
The following are the most common symptoms of Streptococcal TSS:
The following are the most common symptoms of C. sordellii TSS:
Ruling out similar illnesses (such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, among others) is critical in diagnosing TSS. Other diagnostic tests may include:
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on:
Treatment for TSS may include:
TSS can result in amputations of fingers, toes, or limbs, or even death.
TSS may start like other infections, but it can quickly progress to a seriously life-threatening disease. If a mild illness quickly becomes severe with whole-body symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
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