How Much Do You Know About Toxic Shock Syndrome?

TSS claims lives in the US each year.

  • – 40% of those affected are girls between 13-19 years old
  • – This condition is preventable, but deadly if untreated

Let us show you how to avoid putting yourself at risk, and how to protect the ones you love.




1 in 100,000 women will get TSS in the US each year.


All menstruating women using tampons are at risk of TSS.


Did you know? Young girls have a higher risk of getting TSS.


How Do I Know if it’s the Flu or Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Toxic Shock Syndrome often starts off with flu like symptoms. Since it presents quickly, and can often seem very similar to the flu, it can be hard to recognize these signs as a potential for something serious. For this reason, it is important that you understand the symptoms of each condition, and how they differ from each other.

As always, preventative measures are the best form of protection from Toxic Shock Syndrome. Making the switch to organic tampons (read more about a natural product switch here) is a great place to start. We recommend changing your tampon every two hours, and using only the absorption rate necessary for that day’s flow. For example – if you’re nearing the end of your period, you may not need anything more than a light absorbency tampon, or even a panty liner. In addition, alternating between internal and external product is wise. This allows time for any toxins that may have formed in your body to dissipate before you insert the next tampon.

We’ve created this quick graphic for you to compare symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome and the common flu. Remember – knowledge is power. Knowing the symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome is the first step to understanding your risk, and a quick response to the signs could save your life or the life of someone you love. It is important to note that while these are some of the most common symptoms, other side effects could come into play. If you fear something isn’t right, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to rule out anything serious. Read More… >>

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I Think I Have TSS, I Need Help, I’m Scared…

I think I have TSS, I need Help, I'm Scared

We receive lots of great questions through our PeriodTalk forum – and this one is a concern that many young girls have. For that reason, we wanted to share our answer here to help others who may be struggling with the same worry.

Here’s the question:

“I thought I had the flu as of two days ago.  Started with itchy throat, then next day the throat turned very sensitive and sore. This didn’t alarm me right away for I have always had issues with throat soreness at least 1-2 a year. However, the third night out of nowhere I woke up at 3AM, vomiting, having light diarrhea, body aches, headaches (which I never get) and abdominal pain. I think I may have TSS shock. I immediately took out my tampon and felt a little better but now I’m about to go to the ER to get checked and I’m just scared. I wanted to know what kind of tests they run if you go in with suspicion of TSS…..any advice.”

Thank you for reaching out to us. First – we are so sorry you’re feeling scared. The good news is, you’re aware of the risk and acting proactively. Here are our top tips for ladies who fear they may be affected by Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

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Monthly Mission: Toxic Shock Syndrome Awareness

Monthly Mission - Toxic Shock Syndrome Awareness


If you’ve opened up a box of tampons before, you’ve probably encountered the scary warning label on the inside of the pamphlet: “Tampons are associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome. (TSS)” And whether or not you took this warning seriously the first time you saw it, most likely your concern has slowly dissipated the longer you’ve used tampons. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Unfortunately, this is a mistake that can have grave consequences. Toxic shock syndrome is a rare, life-threatening complication of certain types of bacterial infections. It is often associated with the use of super absorbent tampons that contain rayon and other synthetic materials. And unfortunately, girls that are just starting their periods are at a higher risk, since their antibodies are not yet fully developed. This makes it all the more important to be informed about the risks of TSS from a young age. It is crucial for menstruating women and girls to know the risk, the symptoms, and what to do if they think they may have TSS. This dangerous condition claims lives each year; on average, 1 in every 100,000 people in the United States will experience it annually.

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Toxic Shock Syndrome – What Every Woman Should Know

Toxic Shock Syndrome ImgAmy Elifritz was age 20, menstruating and using tampons, when she came down with what appeared to be the flu.  She died four days later from Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).  After Amy’s death, her mother, Lisa, founded You ARE Loved, a nonprofit that raises awareness about tampon related Toxic Shock Syndrome and provides factual menstrual information.

Since launching the You ARE Loved website, we have received and posted several stories of girls and young women who developed tampon related TSS in recent years: Sarah and Brittany, both age 15 – Alex, age 16 – Katelyn, 17 – Amanda, 19 – Lauren, 20 – Nikki, who died of TSS at 21 – Shenikwa, a college student – Heather, a new mom….

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How You ARE Loved Changed My Life

In contrast to the many Toxic Shock Syndrome stories on You ARE Loved‘s site, mine is not one of illness, loss or pain. I am a lucky one!

Toxic Shock Syndrome AwarenessGetting Started with Tampons
I started my menstrual journey at 15 the way most girls do: using pads.  I never got along with them, and hated the “diapery” feeling and the odor.

My mom solely used tampons, so I was naturally curious about them. After only a few cycles of using pads I snuck some of my mom’s tampons (and never looked back.) After “borrowing” a large quantity from her, I feared she would begin to notice.

Somehow I worked up the courage (for some reason I thought she might not approve) to approach her and let her know I wanted start using tampons. She understood my dislike of pads and was ok with me making the switch. A lot like the menstruation/puberty talks we had, this talk was also very brief. I only recall her mentioning a quick caution to not leave them in too long because of something rare called TSS that could make me sick. That conversation did not concern me enough to read the warning on the box (or leaflet inside).

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Before you reach for your next tampon, take this quiz to check your knowledge of the signs & symptoms of TSS. Your knowledge could save a life!


This weekly email series is designed to teach you everything you need to know about the healthier alternatives to the products you’ve been using forever.


These fashionable period kits stuffed with organic tampons or natural pads were designed to keep ladies of all ages prepared with the healthiest options for their period while on the go!


Do you have an experience with TSS? Whether it be your own experience or something you have witnessed with someone in your life we’d love you to share your story and help us raise awareness!