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Toxic Shock Syndrome (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

When to call the doctor

  • Children
    • 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.
  • Adults
    • 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.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/15/2016
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Toxic Shock Syndrome - Symptoms

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Toxic Shock Syndrome »

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a toxin-mediated multisystem disease precipitated by infection with either Staphylococcus aureus or group A Streptococcus (GAS), also called Streptococcus pyogenes.

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