Visit our foundation to give a gift.
View Locations Near Me
Main Campus – Hartford
Connecticut Children’s – Waterbury
Urgent Care – Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Danbury
Connecticut Children’s Surgery Center at Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Fairfield
Search All Locations
Find a doctor
Find A Doctor
Request an Appointment
Amenities and Services
Who’s Who on Care Team
Getting Ready for Surgery
What to Expect—Picture Stories
Pay a Bill
Understanding the Different Fees
Pricing Transparency and Estimates
Raytheon Technologies Family Resource Center
Family Advisory Council
Legal Advocacy: Benefits, Education, Housing
Electronic Health Records
Share Your Story
Pay a Bill
Login to MyChart
Clinical Support Services Referrals
About the Network
Join the Network
Graduate Medical Education
Continuing Medical Education
MOC/Practice Quality Improvement
Educating Practices in the Community (EPIC)
Learning & Performance
Meet our Physician Relations Team
Request Medical Records
Join our Referring Provider Advisory Board
View our Physician Callback Standards
Read & Subscribe to Medical News
Register for Email Updates
Update Your Practice Information
Refer a Patient
Find and Print Health Info
Health Information For Parents
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare but very serious infection. TSS is a medical emergency. So it’s important to know how to prevent it and what signs to watch for. With prompt treatment, it’s usually cured.
Toxic shock syndrome starts suddenly, often with
Other signs include:
A person also might have bloodshot eyes and an unusual redness under the eyelids or inside the mouth (and in the vagina in females). The area around an infected wound can become swollen, red, and tender.
Toxic shock syndrome is caused by two types of
Most cases are related to staph bacteria. When strep causes toxic shock syndrome, it’s usually because the bacteria got into areas of injured skin, such as cuts and scrapes, surgical wounds, and even chickenpox blisters.
Originally, toxic shock syndrome was linked to the use of super-absorbent tampons. Research led to better tampons and better habits for using them, such as changing them often. The number of TSS cases dropped dramatically. Today about half of all TSS cases are related to menstruation.
The contraceptive sponge and the diaphragm, two types of birth control, have been linked to TSS.
Toxic shock syndrome also can affect someone with any type of staph infection, including:
If toxic shock syndrome isn’t treated:
If doctors think someone has toxic shock syndrome, they’ll start intravenous (IV) fluids and
as soon as possible, even before they’re sure the person has TSS.
To confirm a diagnosis, doctors take a sample from the likely site of the infection, such as the skin, nose, or vagina, to check for the bacteria. They also may take and test a blood sample. Other blood tests can help doctors:
Besides giving antibiotics and IV fluids, as needed doctors will:
People with TSS usually need to stay in the hospital, often in the intensive care unit (ICU), for several days. There, doctors can watch their blood pressure and breathing and check for signs of other problems, such as organ damage.
Washing hands well and often can help prevent the bacteria that cause toxic shock syndrome from spreading.
During their periods, girls can reduce their risk of TSS by:
Between menstrual periods, store tampons away from heat and moisture, where bacteria can grow (for example, in a bedroom rather than in a bathroom closet).
Any female who has had TSS should not use tampons.
Clean and bandage all skin wounds as quickly as possible. Call your doctor if a wound gets red, swollen, or tender, or if a fever begins.
Symptoms of toxic shock syndrome come on suddenly. Call your doctor right away if your child gets a sudden high fever, feels faint, or has other signs of TSS.
Cellulitis is a skin infection that involves areas of tissue just below the skin’s surface. It can affect any part of the body, but it’s most common on exposed areas, such as the face, arms, or lower legs.
Osteomyelitis is a bone infection that can happen when germs enter an open wound. The easiest way to prevent it is to keep skin clean.
Sometimes a bad cut that gets infected can lead to even worse things, like a bone infection called osteomyelitis. The easiest way to protect yourself is to practice good hygiene.
Animal bites and scratches, even minor ones, can become infected and spread bacteria to other parts of the body, regardless of whether the animal is a family pet or a wild animal.
When it comes to pads and tampons, there are lots of choices. It may take some experimenting before you find what works best for you. Here are some tips.
Most period problems are common and normal. But some might be a sign that there’s something else going on.
Kids reaching puberty should already know what’s going to happen to their bodies. Here are some tips for talking to your daughter about menstruation.
Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and underlying tissues that can affect any area of the body. It begins in an area of broken skin, like a cut or scratch.
Wondering what you can do to feel as clean as possible “down there”? Read this article for the facts on douches, wipes, and other feminine hygiene products.
Periods can be confusing. Get the facts in this article for teens.
MRSA is a type of bacteria that the usual antibiotics can’t tackle anymore. The good news is that there are some simple ways to protect yourself from being infected. Find out how.
MRSA is a type of bacteria that the usual antibiotics can’t tackle anymore. Simple precautions can help protect your kids from becoming infected.
When skin is punctured or broken for any reason, staph bacteria can enter the wound and cause an infection. But good hygiene can prevent many staph infections. Learn more.
Germs are the microscopic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa that can cause disease.
Washing your hands well and often is the best way to keep from getting sick. Here’s how to teach this all-important habit to your kids.
Although toxic shock syndrome (TSS) can be serious, it’s a very rare illness.
When a girl gets her period, she’ll need some supplies. Find out more in this article for kids.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2020 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved.
Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.