Toxic shock syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a disease caused by bacteria. It can be fatal, but it’s very rare. One way you can get toxic shock syndrome is by leaving a tampon in too long.

You should change your tampon regularly every three to four hours. You should also use the least absorbent tampons you can – so don’t use a ‘super’ tampon if you’ve only got a light flow.

Symptoms of TSS

If you show the following symptoms, it's possible that you are suffering from toxic shock syndrome. 

  • Sudden high fever
  • Headache
  • Diarrhoea
  • Aching muscles
  • Faintness and tiredness
  • Passing less urine than normal
  • A rash like sunburn appearing within 24 hours
  • Bloodshot eyes



If you’ve had a tampon in for a long time, perhaps because you forgot to change it, and you get any three of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately. Stop using tampons and switch to pads.

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