What You Need to Know About Toxic Shock Syndrome So You Don’t Freak Out
Having your period can really suck (believe us, we know). Sometimes it feels like Mother Nature’s way of saying “cool, you get to bleed like the hallway in The Shining, be a raging jerk, and have King Kamehameha level cramps! SO LOVELY TO BE A WOMANNNNNNNN!” Not cool, Mother Nature, not cool.
Recently, another point of period suckage has been making the rounds on the Internet. At this point, we’ve all read (and unconsciously clenched during) the Vice article about model Lauren Wasser who lost her leg due to toxic shock syndrome that was caused by a tampon. Before you vow to only use period panties (like the ones from this Kickstarter) from now on, here are some essential facts to know about toxic shock syndrome.
1. It’s really rare: It’s important to note that toxic shock syndrome is rare (figure only a couple hundred people in the US are affected by it each year), so it’s not like the next time Flo is in town, you’re doomed.
2. It has to do with infections: According to the Mayo Clinic, TSS is a “complication of certain types of bacterial infections” not just caused by tampon usage. As Vice put it: “a person must already have Staphylococcus aureus present in his or her body” to get TSS. This came into play in Wasser’s case because she ended up getting gangrene, which lead to the amputation of her leg.
3. It can be caused by sleeping with a tampon inside you: Most tampons have an advisory on them that say to change them every three hours or so. When you sleep in a tampon the absorbed blood (which is essentially the lining of your uterus and other things) hangs out in your body too long and could become a breeding ground for bacteria that could lead to infection. Unless you want to get up every few hours to swap em out, just use an overnight pad.
4. Organic tampons may help: According to WebMD, the material your tampon is made of may also lead to the growth of bacteria. They suggest that tampons made with rayon and polyester foam make it easier for bacteria to collect on the tampon once it’s inside. You can avoid these materials by using organic tampons and always read the label before you buy.
5. Step away from the Super Plus: The University of Illinois McKinley Health Center recommends using a tampon with the minimum absorbency needed so you’re regularly switching it out and running less of a risk for infection.
6. FYI… tampons expire: Who knew, right?? If you wouldn’t eat a yogurt that was past its date, you shouldn’t stick something past due up your vajazz. The expiration date is usually printed on the bottom of the box so make sure to double check any boxes you have under your sink. (Also, just anecdotally, condoms expire too! Check those bad boys out!)
7. If you feel something, say something: Symptoms of TSS include headaches, fever and vomiting. A lot of us may write symptoms like that off as standard issue period yuckiness but if you feel any of those symptoms more so than usual on your period, you should remove your tampon and go to a doctor immediately. TSS strikes hard and fast so the sooner you get help the better.
What other medical buzz do you want the scoop on? Ask us in the comments!
Back in January, we introduced you to a feel-good cause to inspire your New Year's resolution: a walking challenge to help raise funds for the amazing cancer fighters at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I took part in the challenge with the Brit + Co team and ended up walking 105+ miles in January — it was awesome.
This spring, there's a new challenge on the horizon, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Big Climb. The ask: On May 15, 2021, you can step up to take cancer down by committing to climb 1,311 steps, walking 3.2 miles, or doing 440 chair step-ups at home as part of the Big Climb. If you need some motivation to bring movement back into your daily routine — look no further!
As always, it's free to sign up, but climbers are encouraged to set a fundraising goal to help beat cancer. We'll be organizing another Brit + Co team to step up, and I hope you'll join us too! Keep scrolling for a peek at where I'll be completing the challenge in my Los Angeles neighborhood around the hidden Silver Lake Stairs. Happy climbing!
Never underestimate the power of an accountability buddy! I asked my in-laws, my partner, and a few friends to join me so we can keep each other motivated and accountable in completing the challenge — virtual high-fives all around! Also, my dog Fox is a great climber, too.
An aesthetically pleasing backdrop is a huge motivator for me! I'm fortunate to have all sorts of painted steps around my neighborhood to keep the challenge interesting, but you can also keep cool inside with at-home chair step-ups.
Don't forget to share your progress on social — #BigClimb!
Feel free to break the challenge up if you need to by tackling half the distance in the AM and half at sunset. Here's me 1,311 steps later and ready for a break — but, think I earned this one!