21 September 2011

Toxic tampon shock

A recent report of a teenage girl collapsing with toxic shock attributed to tampon use has resurrected the tampon debate.

A teenaged girl in the UK almost died in an extremely rare case of blood poisoning caused by a tampon.  Paige Roffey, aged 15, collapsed at her home in Rayleigh, Essex with toxic shock syndrome after using a tampon for four hours.  Roffey was put into an induced coma for two days and after more than a week in hospital was fortunate to recover.

Some facts about TSS

  • Toxic shock syndrome is a rare but very serious illness that can develop rapidly in anyone.
  • Men, women and children can get toxic shock syndrome, for example following burns, boils, insect bites or infections after surgery. About half of the reported cases are linked to women who use tampons; the other half are not.
  • With early diagnosis toxic shock syndrome can be successfully treated. Sadly, however, out of the small number of people who fall ill each year, 2-3 people die from TSS. It is important to remember that if TSS is diagnosed and treated early there is a good chance of recovery
  • Most doctors will never see a case of toxic shock syndrome. TSS is so rare that most doctors will not come across TSS during their medical careers


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