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Woman almost dies after using wrong tampon

Women's Weekly logo Women's Weekly 15/02/2017

A Scottish woman was admitted to hospital after using a super-absorbent tampon and developing Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Katie Knight, 20, spent 48 hours being sick before she was rushed to hospital.

The young woman from Inverness spent four days in intensive care, and doctors say she was just hours away from death after developing the potentially fatal bacterial infection, commonly linked to the sanitary product.

"I genuinely thought I was going to die," Knight told Metro.

She had put in an extra-absorbent tampon as she was revising for an assignment due the following day and was planning a full day of work in the library. When she returned home, she started being violently sick and when she was visited by her flatmate the next day, she was quickly rushed to hospital.

By this stage the tampon had been in for 48 hours.

She has since recovered.

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is an uncommon, but dangerous illness that may cause death, when vital organs, such as the liver, lungs or heart fail. It is caused by a toxin which is produced by a type of bacteria - Staphylococcus aureus - which exists normally in the air. Most people develop a resistance to the toxin, and the bacteria is found in the nose of about one-third of the population.

Symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome

Symptoms of TSS can mimic those of the flu. They can come on quickly, and include:

  • Headache
  • Muscular pain
  • Sudden high fever and chills
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or both
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Confusion
  • A sunburn-like rash

What role do tampons play?

© Provided by Bauer Media Group (NZ) LP

Tampons do not cause TSS, but when used incorrectly, there can be an increased risk of developing the illness. Industry advice is that a tampon should never be used for more than eight hours.

Reduce your risk of developing TSS by using the lowest absorbency tampon necessary to suit your flow, and ensure your hands are clean when handling tampons.

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