Toxic shock syndrome is an uncommon but oftentimes fatal infection once toxins produced by bacteria enters the bloodstream.
These bacteria are usually present in the mouth, nose, skin and vagina. In rare instances, these bacteria rapidly multiply and generate large amounts of toxins which results to a serious infection.
What is the cause?
Women who wear highly absorbent tampons during the menstrual period are at high risk for this form of infection. On the other hand, even older women, children and even men can end up with the infection.
The condition might also develop from scratches or wounds on the skin, surgical wounds, issues after childbirth or infections in other parts of the body.
What are the signs?
Toxic shock syndrome develops abruptly and rapidly worsens. Since the infection is in the bloodstream, the entire body can be affected with symptoms such as:
- Muscle pain
- Shortness of breath
- Fever and chills
- Sore throat
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Certain parts of the skin appear reddened, swollen and warm.
The condition can also trigger an abrupt drop in the blood pressure. This can rapidly lead to shock if not promptly treated.
Management of toxic shock syndrome
Treatment for toxic shock syndrome is carried out in a healthcare facility. If a tampon is present, it is removed. In most cases, the individual is given:
- Intravenous fluids and antibiotics for the bacterial infection
- Medications to increase the blood pressure, lower the fever and help the body fight the infection
In case the condition is due to surgery, further surgery is necessary.