Toxic shock syndrome requires immediate emergency care in a hospital. If you think you have it, get medical help as soon as possible. Call 911 or get to a hospital emergency room right away. Have someone take you, because you may quickly become too shaky to drive yourself.
Treatment for this life-threatening condition must be aggressive. Your doctor or emergency room personnel will start by giving you antibiotics to kill the bacteria and stop more poisons from being made. You'll also receive intravenous fluids. Other urgent steps may include blood transfusion and other medicines to stabilize your blood pressure. Some cases call for a ventilator, which will temporarily breathe for you.
By Meryl Davids Landau
When you were in your 20s and 30s, you probably ignored random aches or other minor physical annoyances, and they usually went away. But now those symptoms can come back — often with a different cause, and calling for more serious attention.
Using tampons increases your risk of having toxic shock syndrome, but your risk is much lower if you use regular tampons instead of super-absorbent ones. It falls even lower if you switch to sanitary napkins. You may also lower risk by taking these steps:
Minimize your use of tampons. You might alternate tampons with sanitary napkins during the day and use napkins at night.
Use the least absorbent tampon that will control your menstrual flow; change tampons at least every eight hours. Be sure to remove the last tampon when your period is over.
If you use a menstrual sponge, diaphragm, or cervical cap, remove it when it is not needed. Under no circumstances should you leave any such device in for more than 24 hours. Wash your diaphragm or cervical cap in warm, soapy water after each use.