Toxic Shock Syndrome (cont.)
When to Seek Medical Care
When to call the doctor
- If a child has a fever and a red rash with some of the symptoms of toxic shock syndrome, call the doctor to discuss the possibility of toxic shock syndrome.
- The most common causes of a fever and a rash in children are viruses and scarlet fever, which affect children younger than 10 years
of age. Scarlet fever is a form of strep throat that causes a sore throat and a raised (bumpy) rash, not the flat rash of toxic shock syndrome. Scarlet fever is not usually a serious illness, and it is safe to wait until morning to call and visit the doctor.
- If a child has severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or all three, call the doctor to discuss the symptoms of dehydration.
- If a high fever (over 102 F) is present without a rash, as well as some of the symptoms of toxic shock syndrome, call the doctor or go to an emergency department.
- Many viral illnesses can cause fever and sore throat, cough, malaise, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle aches; most are self-limited illnesses and usually require no medical intervention.
When to go to the hospital
- Children: Take a child to the pediatrician or the hospital's emergency department if he or she has a fever, has a flat (not bumpy) rash, is not acting normally, seems confused, is short of breath, or faints.
- Adults: If fever is present with some of the toxic shock syndrome symptoms, along with a red rash, proceed to the hospital's emergency department for evaluation. Have someone else drive, especially if
the person is feeling lightheaded or confused. Women who are menstruating and using a tampon should remove the tampon prior to going to the hospital.
Joseph S Bushra, MD, FAAEM
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