Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a blood infection most likely caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which causes toxins to enter a person's bloodstream. The disease also may be caused by the Streptococcus bacteria. TSS is linked to women who wear tampons, especially superabsorbent tampons, made out of synthetic materials, such as rayon. It is also linked to males or females who have skin wounds or postoperative infections. Although rare, TSS can be fatal and it is important to take the necessary precautions to prevent this disease.
Check the absorbency level on your tampon box. If you wear tampons during menstruation, select tampons with the lowest absorbency level that is suitable for your menstrual flow. A tampon that is too absorbent can dry out your vagina or be difficult to remove from your vagina.
Change your tampon at least every four to eight hours. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after changing a tampon.
Alternate wearing tampons and menstrual pads during your period. On the light days of your period, wear a pad instead of a tampon.
Avoid wearing tampons overnight or during the weeks in between menstrual periods.
Wear alternative menstrual products, such as 100 percent cotton, washable cloth pads or menstrual cups. Some women prefer menstrual products such as The Keeper (keeper.com), which is a natural gum rubber cup that you insert into your vagina to collect your blood.
Wash your hands on a regular basis, especially before and after treating an open wound. Use soap and water and wash for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
Keep any body wounds, such as cuts, scrapes or abrasions, clean and bandaged. Place clean, dry bandages over wounds.
Change your bandages every day instead of leaving them on for days at a time and keep wounds bandaged until they are healed.
- "Our Bodies, Ourselves For the New Century"; The Boston Women's Health Book Collective; 1998
- Mayo Clinic; Toxic Shock Definition; Mayo Clinic Staff; 2011
- Mayo Clinic; Staph Infections; Mayo Clinic Staff; 2011
- The Keeper: FAQ
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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