Methods Of Preventing Toxic Shock Syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) describes a cluster of symptoms that involve many systems of the body. The following bacteria commonly cause TSS:

1. Staphylococcus aureus
2. Streptococcus pyogenes

TSS from Staphylococcus infections was identified in the late 70s and early 80s when highly absorbent tampons were widely used in menstruating women. Due to manufacturing changes in tampons, the incidence of tampon-induced TSS has diminished by more than 40 percent.

Symptoms of TSS involve many systems and may resemble other infections.

The symptoms of TSS include sudden high fever, a faint feeling, watery diarrhea, headache, and muscle aches. If your child has these symptoms, it’s important to call your child’s doctor right away.

TSS can occur whenever a nonimmune person is exposed to a TSS toxin. Illness is said to be “menstrual” if it occurs during the menstrual period and “nonmenstrual” if at other times. Each category accounts for about half of cases. The risk of TSS is greater in younger than in older people, the acquisition of protective antibodies being a function of age.


The bacteria that cause toxic shock syndrome can be carried on unwashed hands and prompt an infection anywhere on the body. So hand washing is extremely important.

How is toxic shock syndrome transmitted?

1. Staphylococcus infections

2. Staphylococcus aureus may normally exist in a person’s nose or vagina and does not cause infection. Because it is part of the body’s normal bacteria, 90 percent of individuals develop antibodies to prevent infection. S. aureus can be transmitted by direct contact with infected persons. Individuals who develop TSS usually have not developed antibodies against S. aureus. Therefore, it is not usually considered a contagious infection. S. aureus infections may also occur from another infection such as pneumonia, sinusitis, osteomyelitis (infection in the bone), or skin wounds such as a burn or surgical site. If any of these areas are infected, the bacteria can penetrate into the bloodstream.

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