Toxic Shock Syndrome
What is toxic shock syndrome?
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare illness that happens suddenly after an infection. It quickly can harm several different organs, including the lungs, the kidneys, and the liver, and it can be deadly. Since toxic shock syndrome gets worse quickly, it requires medical treatment right away.
What causes toxic shock syndrome?
An infection caused by strep or staph bacteria can lead to toxic shock syndrome. These bacteria are common and usually don't cause problems. But in rare cases, the toxins enter the bloodstream and cause a severe immune reaction. This reaction causes the symptoms of TSS.
What are the symptoms?
Toxic shock symptoms get worse quickly and can be deadly within 2 days. Symptoms include:
Other TSS symptoms may include:
Having sudden, severe symptoms is one of the most important clues that you may have toxic shock syndrome. If you think you have TSS, get medical care right away.
How is toxic shock syndrome diagnosed?
Doctors usually diagnose toxic shock syndrome based on your symptoms. Tests can help show whether staph or strep bacteria are causing the infection. Tests you may need include:
How is it treated?
Treatment for toxic shock syndrome almost always takes place in a hospital. Treatment includes:
Sometimes surgery is needed if TSS developed after surgery or if the infection is destroying the skin and soft tissue (necrotizing fasciitis).
After having TSS, you may get better in 1 to 2 weeks. But it will take longer if you had major complications.
How can you prevent toxic shock syndrome?
You can take steps to prevent TSS:
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