Signs Of Toxic Shock Syndrome

September 27, 2023

Toxic shock syndrome, also known as TSS, is a life-threatening illness that typically occurs due to bacterial infections such as staph and group A strep. Although toxic shock syndrome has primarily been associated with menstruating women and the use of superabsorbent tampon usage, it can affect anyone, including men, children, and post-menopausal women. The risk of acquiring toxic shock syndrome increases for those who have open wounds or are recovering from surgery. Because TSS can be fatal, it is important to recognize the signs and get medical help immediately if symptoms occur.

Sudden High Fever

For many experiencing toxic shock syndrome, the first indicator something is wrong is the onset of a sudden, high fever. While a fever can be considered anything over the average temperature of 98.6 Fahrenheit, for toxic shock syndrome, a high fever is considered 102 degrees Fahrenheit. The body creates a feverish state as it attempts to combat infection. The fever may be accompanied by a headache, chills, irritability, and a general sense of malaise. Although it may be difficult for those with a fever to eat or drink, it is imperative they intake consistent fluids, as a consistent feverish state can lead to dehydration. A prolonged fever state can lead to organ damage and failure as well. Those with an increased risk of toxic shock syndrome who experience a sudden high fever of 102 degrees or more should seek immediate medical attention.

Keep reading to reveal more signs of toxic shock syndrome now.

Muscle Aches

Another common symptom of toxic shock syndrome is muscle aches and pain. The muscle pain experienced by patients with TSS is different from those experienced with common illnesses such as the flu because they are severe and can be debilitating. Individuals with toxic shock syndrome may have cramps in the abdomen, but in most cases, the pain will not be limited to this area. Muscle aches associated with TSS will be throughout the body and have been categorized as deep and reverberating. The pain in the muscles may make normal activities such as walking uncomfortable. Pain may also be accompanied by muscle weakness and fatigue.

Reveal the next major symptom of toxic shock syndrome now.


As the infection moves through the body, it can lead to inflammation of the brain and changes in the brains electrical activity, resulting in a patient having one or many seizures. The symptoms may differ, depending on the type experienced but they are typically characterized by a feeling of severe anxiety before onset, followed by a period of violent shaking, and finally, loss of consciousness. Individuals who have a seizure related to bacterial infections such as toxic shock syndrome typically will have a focal or generalized seizure. A generalized seizure affects both hemispheres of the brain while a focal seizure only affects one hemisphere of the brain. In most cases, once the infection which caused the occurrence of toxic shock syndrome is eradicated, the seizures go away.

Continue reading to learn about more symptoms of toxic shock syndrome now.

Low Blood Pressure

If not treated promptly, toxic shock syndrome may lead to the body entering into shock resulting in a decrease in blood pressure. This is a very dangerous symptom as the decrease in the flow of blood to the body can result in organ damage, heart attack, stroke, and renal failure. Signs of decreased blood pressure are fatigue, clammy skin, nausea, lightheadedness, and loss of consciousness. If blood pressure reaches a level so low the body and heart are unable to sustain blood flow, it can prove fatal. Because low blood pressure is such a serious condition, even with the absence of toxic shock syndrome, it is crucial for those experiencing symptoms to seek out a physician immediately.

Get to know the next symptom of toxic shock syndrome now.


Vomiting is another common symptom of toxic shock syndrome and may be accompanied by diarrhea and nausea. While vomiting alone may not be a cause for concern, if it is coupled with fever, signs of low blood pressure, or seizure, individuals are strongly encouraged to seek medical attention. It can lead to dehydration, so it is very important the individual experiencing this symptom to continue to intake fluids, even if doing so may be difficult. If a patient cannot keep fluids down, insertion of an IV may be necessary. Some changes in the patient's diet may also be required to avoid further aggravation for the time being.

MORE FROM HealthPrep