An Introduction to Toxic Shock Syndrome
Let’s be real. Toxic Shock Syndrome is a scary thing that can lead to serious stuff like losing limbs, organ failure and even death.
Although tampons are most often associated with TSS, it can happen after surgery, abortion, childbirth, with a cut or scrape, or when inserting just about anything into the body.
It’s caused by an overgrowth of the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, or staph. Staph is naturally found in, or or most of our bodies but it’s usually kept in check. It’s only when it grows too quickly and in too great of quantities that it becomes a problem.
More information about Toxic Shock Syndrome here: TSS Warning Signs.
How Long Does it Take to Get TSS?
Toxic Shock Syndrome symptoms usually occur within 12 hours to five days of an infection. The first things you’ll usually notice are a rash, fever or pain.
The most obvious clue that you might have TSS is the sudden onset of symptoms. You’re feeling fine one hour, but then you start to deteriorate very quickly. Toxic Shock Syndrome can sometimes get mistaken for the flu.
However, the length of time that TSS takes to occur can vary depending on the infection.
According to Healthlink BC, Toxic Shock Syndrome can occur as soon as 12 hours following surgery. It can also take longer than that as well. According to the North Dakota Department of Health, TSS usually develops around 2 days after infection.
However, it often takes 3-5 days to develop among women who are menstruating and using tampons.
In reality, there just isn’t that much information about how long it takes to get Toxic Shock Syndrome. Who really knows how long the infection has been developing inside someone’s body before the infection starts to show symptoms? It’d also be very unethical to introduce Staph bacteria into an open wound to test it out!
Lauren Wasser and Toxic Shock Syndrome
What if Leave a Tampon in for Too Long?
You’re probably used to seeing the warning labels on tampons about leaving them in for a maximum of 8 hours. This is done to reduce your risk of TSS.
But, what happens if you forget about a tampon and leave it in for say 24 hours? Will you automatically get TSS?
The easy answer is, “NO!” Very few people get TSS each year around the world, and it’s actually relatively rare, considering how many people use tampons.
The 8 hour recommendation is just to reduce to your risk. Below 8 hours, levels of the bacteria that cause TSS are very, very low and it’s extremely difficult to get sick from it. Beyond that, the levels of bacteria can increase to more dangerous levels, increasing your risk and potentially lead to problems.
How Do I Know if I’ve Forgotten a Tampon?
Okay, so it’s the end of your period and you put in a tampon just to be safe. Because it never fills up, it can be pretty easy to forget about it.
The biggest giveaway will be a foul-smelling discharge that may be an odd colour (brown, pink, green, yellow, etc). It’s a common problem, but one that must be avoided.
How Can I Prevent Toxic Shock Syndrome with Tampon Use?
Here are a few tips for reducing your risk. The good news is that it’s not so difficult to do.
Consider the Absorbency Level
Most of the problems with tampons come with the high absorbency ones. So, only use them if necessary. Otherwise stick with the regular or light ones.
Pay Attention to the Time
As already mentioned, 8 hours is the maximum amount of time you should use them. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Wash your Hands
Be sure to wash your hands before handling anything you’re going to put into your vagina. You don’t want to introduce any toxins into that environment.
What are some of the Symptoms of TSS?
If you want to learn more about how you know if you have it, you can check out this article: 5 Warning Signs you Have Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Or, for a sneak peak, here are some of the things to be aware of:
- High blood pressure
- Sunburn like bright red rash
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Muscle weakness
It’s important to get this checked out by a doctor for treatment as soon as possible. It can be potentially fatal, or you may have to have a part of your body amputated due to TSS (caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus) if you don’t catch it in time.
How Long Does it Take to Get Toxic Shock Syndrome: Have your Say!
What are your thoughts about TSS? Any questions, or things you’d like to know? Leave a comment below and let us know.