Do you have Toxic Shock Syndrome fear? You’re not the only one

Emer McLysaght
a tampon? 11.7.2007


A MODEL WHO lost her leg to Toxic Shock Syndrome as a result of wearing a tampon is suing for better warning labels on the products.

Twenty-four-year-old Lauren Wasser succumbed to TSS in 2012 while wearing a Kotex Natural Balance tampon, and had her leg amputated as a result after the infection developed into gangrene.

She is taking a lawsuit against the manufacturers and the store where she bought the Kotex tampons  (which according to Vice don’t carry a higher risk of TSS, but they are named in the lawsuit because they are the brand that Wasser was using).

Her lawyer says:

The tampon has not been changed since the day of the original TSS epidemic. All they did was put on the label, ‘Oh, you can get toxic shock.’ The material has gone unchanged for decades.

They argue that the directions for tampon use, particularly overnight, are not clear enough.

Toxic Shock Syndrome is rare, but it does happen.

It’s caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which can be present in anyone’s body. It’s thought that it can affect tampon users because the materials usually used to make tampons can provide the perfect environment for the bacteria to grow under the right conditions.

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According to the HSE, tampons that are designed to be “super absorbent” increase the risk.

Men and children can also be affected by TSS. It can occur as a result of an infected cut, an insect bite, or a burn for example.

Are women terrified of it?

In short, yes. But the relatively low number of cases means that there is an element of assumed hyperbole.

The dangers of TSS are often hammered home to young women when they are teenagers, maybe during a talk at school, or by doctors and parents.




And that fear has stayed with many of them


 




How can I avoid certain TSS death?

Change your tampon every four to eight hours

Words to live by.

Choose the right absorbency

If, after four hours the tampon you’re using has not soaked up all of the blood, you need to lower the absorbency, or maybe consider using a pad on light days.

Don’t use a tampon if you sleep for more than 8 hours 

In that case a pad is your only… er…  man.

Don’t use tampons

If the fear of God is still in you, it might be best to abstain.

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