Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Who Is Affected by Toxic Shock Syndrome?
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) can affect men, women, and
children. Most people who get TSS are in good health before they become ill.
The illness usually develops rapidly. And most people become much sicker than
would be expected if they simply had the
flu or another minor infection. This can be a
life-threatening illness, so immediate medical treatment in a hospital is
Most cases of TSS that people have heard about have been related to
women using tampons, which is called menstrual TSS.
Young women ages 15 to 24 are affected most often.footnote 1
Nonmenstrual TSS can follow outbreaks of the
flu or be a rare complication of
chickenpox. About half of the people who develop TSS have
nonmenstrual TSS. Nonmenstrual TSS may be related to a history of
antibiotic use. It is most likely to develop in women
who are in the hospital after childbirth or a surgical procedure.footnote 2
Menstrual TSS has declined since women have become more aware of the
direct relation of TSS with tampon use. Also, certain extremely absorbent
tampons are no longer available, which means that a woman must change a tampon
more often. This reduces the risk for TSS.
While menstrual TSS cases have decreased, nonmenstrual TSS continues
to occur at a steady rate.
Reingold AL (2008). Toxic shock syndrome (staphylococcoal). In RB Wallace et al., eds., Wallace/Maxcy-Rosenau-Last Public Health and Preventive Medicine, 15th ed., pp. 483–499. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.
Suen J, et al. (2009). Toxic shock syndrome. In RD Feigin et al., eds., Feigin and Cherry's Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 6th ed., vol. 1, pp. 862–884. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerDennis L. Stevens, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease
Current as ofJune 4, 2014
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Dennis L. Stevens, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.