Symptoms and Signs of Toxic Shock Syndrome

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Toxic Shock Syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome is a severe illness associated with certain bacterial infections. The condition arises because of exotoxins secreted by Streptococcus or Staphylococcus bacteria. Many early outbreaks were described in women who used tampons during menstruation, but this accounts for less than half of cases overall. Risk factors for developing the condition, in addition to the use of tampons, include deep wound infections and decreased immune function.  

Symptoms and signs of toxic shock syndrome high fever and a drop in blood pressure that subsequently can lead to organ failure. There may be a flat, red rash on the body or shedding of the skin. Other associated symptoms can include dizziness, headache, fatigue, vomiting, trouble breathing, muscle aches, problems with blood clotting, and impaired kidney and liver function.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.