How to prevent toxic shock syndrome
It is possible to significantly reduce the chances of contracting such a serious bacterial infection. Generally, those who are prone to bacterial infections are at higher risk of TSS exposure, especially if it’s been contracted before. Reinfection can occur in those who have had TSS before (it is not possible to develop immunity to bacteria causing TSS).
Ways to minimise risk and thereby potentially prevent TSS include:
- Treat open wounds, especially deep cuts (including surgical incisions), as early as possible and keep them clean and dry (bandaged). Dressings should also be changed frequently as needed.
- Menstruating women should avoid using superabsorbent tampons.
- Menstruating women should take precaution when using tampons, ensuring to change them frequently as needed (and practice good hygiene when doing so). No tampon should be left inserted for longer than 8 hours. Women should also rather use sanitary pads when flow is light to reduce the chances of tears in the wall lining of the vagina. Handwashing is important before putting a tampon in and after taking one out.
- Menstruating women who have had a prior strep, TSS (staph) or other serious bacterial infection should avoid using tampons.
- Precautions, such as frequent changing, should be taken when using diaphragms, cervical caps or vaginal sponges as a form of birth control (women). It is advisable to consult a doctor before using any internal menstrual or contraceptive devices.
- Practice healthy hygiene habits (in general) – daily handwashing can reduce or remove bacteria.