What the heck is toxic shock syndrome all about?

What the heck is toxic shock syndrome all about?

You may have heard of TSS, but do you know what the heck we’re really talking about? Sure, there are sooo many acronyms to remember but here’s one that shouldn’t be confused with TB (eww, those jabs), TTC (time travel capsule anyone?), or TGIF (surely this one doesn’t need explaining).


TSS is seriously serious though, so it’s time to share everything we know, or don’t know, about it. Test your super-knowledge by taking the quiz!


  1. So what does TSS stand for?


  1. Tragic shock syndrome
  2. Tampon serious situation
  3. Toxic shock syndrome (correct)
  4. Tampon smell syndrome 

  1. TSS is known as a “systemic infection.” In a nutshell, this means it affects…


  1. The whole body. Yep, all of it (correct)
  2. Just the brain
  3. The bits below the waist
  4. Arms and legs
  1. But what even happens?


  1. A massive build up of vaginal discharge initially causes TSS
  2. Infection happens when the body loses too much blood during a period
  3. A harmful bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus produces nasty toxins, gets into the bloodstream and poisons the body (correct)
  4. Severe period cramps cause the body to go into shock

  1. A super-absorbent tampon that’s left in for a long time, creates the perfect cosy situ for bacteria growth and TSS. Is this true?


  1. Urgh. Thank goodness I only use pads anyway
  2. Yep. But it’s not the only cause. Skin infections or small cuts or burns could also lead to this infection (correct)
  3. That’s false. Tampons have nada to do with it
  4. *Disappears to change tampon*

  1. One of these is NOT a typical symptom of TSS. Can you spot it? 


  1. Flu-like symptoms; fever, sickness, diarrhoea, confusion, aching muscles
  2. Seizures
  3. Food cravings (correct)
  4. A sunburn-like rash

  1. You can die from TSS. True or false?


  1. Wah, don’t scare me!
  2. Totally true (correct)
  3. Only if you’ve had it for a few months
  4. Die?? Don’t be so dramatic

  1. If you think that you have TSS, what should you do? 


  1. Wait all day for your mum to get home from work
  2. Take out your tampon and get to a doctor. PRONTO (correct)
  3. WhatsApp your mates to see what they think
  4. Get into bed and sleep it off

  1. You should never-ever leave a tampon in for longer than…


  1. 24 hours
  2. 4 hours
  3. 8 hours (correct)
  4. 1 hour

  1. How many cases of TSS do you reckon are linked to tampon use? 


  1. Around 50% (correct)
  2. Only 7%
  3. Almost 90% 
  4. About 25%

  1. What can reduce the risk of TSS?


  1. Getting enough sleep
  2. Washing your vagina twice a day
  3. Using the lowest absorbency tampon as possible for your flow (correct)
  4. Sticking to the same brand of tampon

  1. Toxic Shock Syndrome is mega serious, but it’s also rare. Fact or fib?


  1. Pleeeease let it be rare!
  2. Fib. It’s really common in teenagers
  3. I don’t know one person who’s had it, so not sure
  4. Fact. There’s no need to panic about TSS if you remember the safety info (correct)

11/11? Wow, this is super-impressive TSS knowledge. Fess up, you’ve read the leaflet in your tampon box a trillion times over, haven’t you? Whatever, we’re proud of you. Now go spread the intel on this icky infection with your mates, we bet they know nada.

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