Toxic shock syndrome - Symptoms 

Symptoms of toxic shock syndrome 

The symptoms of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) normally begin with a sudden high fever (body temperature rises above 38.9C/102F).

Other symptoms then rapidly develop, normally in the course of a few hours. They may include:

  • flu-like symptoms including headache, muscle aches, sore throat and cough
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhoea 
  • fainting or feeling faint
  • dizziness or confusion

A widespread sunburn-like skin rash may also occur, with the whites of the eyes, lips and tongue becoming more red than usual.

One or two weeks after the rash appears, it is common that the skin begins to shed in large sheets, especially from the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

People with streptococcal TSS may also have the symptoms of a serious streptococcal infection. For example, pain in the muscles, abdominal pain (such as after childbirth) or cough.

When to seek medical advice

If you develop a sudden fever and one or more of the other symptoms listed above, it is still extremely unlikely that you have TSS. However, symptoms like these should never be ignored. Contact your GP, local out-of-hours service or NHS 111 immediately.

If you are wearing a tampon, remove it straight away. Also tell your GP or doctor if you have been using a tampon, recently suffered a burn or skin injury, or if you have a skin infection such as a boil or a blister that has become infected.

Page last reviewed: 03/09/2014

Next review due: 03/09/2016


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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Deborah1964 said on 07 January 2012

Nothing is ever black or white. I did 3 separate checks as I thought a tampon was inside me as per your site and I found nothing and assumed I had some sort of urine infection. The Dr believes the tampon was stuck in my cervix.

Other symtoms:-
Loss of appetite
Hard swollen stomach
unable to urination
foul smell
burning sensation from urine
To drink plenty of fluid which also helped to release the tampon and flush it through

TO ONLY USE EXTERNAL TOWELS as I normally do, but had run out and this was a last unwanted resort!

Warn people that the anti-biotics can make you extremely drowsy and I could not keep my eyes open (a friend advised me that another friend went into a coma with one of these drugs) So I also had this concern (but too unwell to worry about nothing at all really) and I live on my own - should perhaps be monitored in a hospital environment especially as my temperature was over 38.

This advice could save someone's live!

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