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Toxic shock syndrome – causes, side effects and treatments at

Thursday, July 12, 2018 by

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is an uncommon but serious medical condition caused by a bacterial infection. A patient develops TSS when the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) enters their bloodstream and produces toxins.

The condition is often associated with superabsorbent tampon use among women on their periods. However, children, men, and people of all ages can also develop toxic shock syndrome.

Known side effects of toxic shock syndrome

The side effects of toxic shock syndrome may vary per patient, and they often manifest suddenly.

Common side effects of TSS usually include:

  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Drowsiness
  • Flu-like symptoms, (e.g., chills, a cough, a headache, muscle aches, and a sore throat)
  • A high fever/temperature of 39 degrees C (102.2 degrees F) or higher
  • The whites of the eyes, lips, and tongue turn bright red
  • A widespread rash that looks like sunburn

Risk factors for toxic shock syndrome may include:

  • Having an open skin wound
  • Having a recent skin burn
  • Having a skin infection
  • Having surgery
  • Recently giving birth
  • Using a diaphragm or vaginal sponge for birth control

Body systems harmed by toxic shock syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome may cause the following complications:

  • Heart failure – Symptoms may include appetite loss, chest pain, coughing, fatigue, heart palpitations, inability to concentrate, shortness of breath, weakness, and wheezing.
  • Kidney failure – Symptoms may include chest pain, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, hiccups, high blood pressure/hypertension, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting, persistent itching, problems urinating, shortness of breath, swelling in the feet and ankles, and weakness.
  • Liver failure – Symptoms may include confusion, difficulty concentrating, jaundice/skin and eyeballs turning yellow, nausea, sleepiness, upper abdominal pain, and vomiting.
  • Shock/reduced blood flow all over the body

Food items or nutrients that may prevent toxic shock syndrome

The following foods or nutrients can help prevent toxic shock syndrome or address its side effects:

  • Chlorophyll – Chlorophyll can help detoxify the blood.
  • Garlic – Garlic can boost the immune system.
  • Goldenseal – Goldenseal is an herbal cleanser and healer.
  • Probiotics – Probiotics can also strengthen your immune system. It can help the body absorb nutrients from the foods you eat. Sources include supplements, or foods like kefir, kimchi, miso, natto, or sauerkraut.
  • Vitamins A and B complex – These can increase your resistance to diseases.
  • Vitamin C with bioflavonoids – This can help fight bacterial and viral organisms.
  • Vitamin D – Vitamin D can boost your immunity. It can fight off bacteria that causes TSS.
  • Zinc – Zinc can strengthen your immune system.

Treatments, management plans for toxic shock syndrome

Patients with toxic shock syndrome may require hospitalization so they can be treated in an intensive care unit (ICU).

Treatment for TSS may include:

  • Antibiotics – Can treat the infection, but may cause harmful side effects.
  • Dialysis – Dialysis may be required if the kidneys stop functioning.
  • Fluids – Fluids can help patients stay hydrated and prevent organ damage.
  • Medication – Can help control blood pressure.
  • Oxygen – Can help patients breathe.
  • Pooled immunoglobulin – Pooled immunoglobulin, or purified antibodies that come from the donated blood of several individuals, can also be administered to help fight the infection.
  • Surgery – Severe cases of TSS may require surgery for the removal of any dead tissue. In some cases, amputation may be necessary.

The majority of patients with TSS will recover after several days. However, it may take several weeks before they’re well enough to be discharged from the hospital.

Where to learn more


Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is an uncommon but serious medical condition caused by a bacterial infection. A patient develops TSS when the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) enters their bloodstream and produces toxins.

Common side effects of TSS usually include confusion, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, dizziness or fainting, and drowsiness.

Toxic shock syndrome may cause complications like heart failure, kidney failure, liver failure, or shock/reduced blood flow all over the body.

Chlorophyll, garlic, goldenseal, probiotics, vitamins A and B complex, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin D, and zinc.

Treatment for TSS may include antibiotics, dialysis, fluids, medication, oxygen, pooled immunoglobulin, and surgery.

Sources include:


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