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Toxic Shock Syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome is a comparatively rare and recently defined ailment that normally afflicts menstruating women in the age group of roughly 17-24 years. It has been found that using extremely absorbent tampons made from synthetic fiber that prompts staphylococcus bacterial infections is responsible for the occurrence of this potentially fatal disease. Even children, aged women and men can be afflicted by toxic shock syndrome, but such cases are extremely rare.

Toxic shock syndrome occurs all of a sudden and as many as 114 women succumbed to this disease in 1985. It is interesting to note that when a person has been afflicted by this disease once, he/ she face the risk of developing it again. Although the disease has been defined newly, the condition called toxic shock is not something new. This disease may occur anytime when there is a substantially large colony of staph bacteria. Even recuperation from toxic shock syndrome is quite difficult and it may take a long time to get completely well.

While toxic shock was a subject that was much talked about during the 1980s, the issue lost its prominence when specific varieties of tampons were withdrawn in the market. Despite the fact that hundreds of cases of toxic shock are reported every year, only 25 per cent of these are menstrual toxic shock. Roughly three per cent of people who are afflicted by toxic shock succumb to the disease.

It is understood that the staphylococcus enters the body via a skin crack, which is occasionally also present in the areas around the mouth and the nose. A number of women transmit these bacteria inside their vagina. However, precise relation between the use of tampons and infections by staphylococcus bacteria is yet to be understood completely. According to one hypothesis that explains the link of the infection to tampon use, the tampons confine the bacteria and present them a breeding place where they are able to proliferate very quickly.

In fact, allowing a tampon to remain for prolonged periods enables the bacteria to propagate rapidly. According to another theory, highly absorbent tampons made from synthetic fiber may result in minute scratches inside the vagina and these make it possible for the bacteria to transmit the toxic substances produced by them into the bloodstream.

In addition to tampons, toxic shock syndrome is also linked to the use of contraceptives that form a vaginal barrier (for instance, contraceptive sponges or diaphragms). In effect, there have been a number of cases wherein both sexual partners have been afflicted by the disease. Various factors like skin infection by staph bacteria; injuries that occur as secondary complications from surgery; ailments like flu and pneumonia as well as infections during childbirth may result in toxic shock. A number of toxic shock syndrome cases have also been associated with nasal packing used to restrain nosebleeds.

Toxic shock syndrome may produce a number of unpleasant side effects including headaches, light-headedness, tender throats, muscle pain, diarrhea, nausea and even an abrupt high fever. After these initial symptoms of the disease, the patient experiences reddish, peeling rash resembling sunburns, which usually occurs on the palms and soles. When the patient undergoes these symptoms, she may also endure shock, unconsciousness, failure of the kidneys and paralysis. Such symptoms may also result in untimely death.

Other symptoms produced by toxic shock syndrome include a drastic lowering of the blood pressure. When the disease occurs in a mild form, the patient is likely to have just a couple of symptoms.

As the mortality rate of toxic shock syndrome is quite high, women afflicted by this disease should be hospitalized and given immediate medical attention. This disease affects several systems as well as organs of the body and, therefore, it may be necessary to admit the patients to an intensive care unit (ICU). In addition, it is essential to monitor the level of body fluids of the patients and replenish them in case there is a loss of excessive amount of body fluid owing to the failure of the kidneys. The patient is given a blend of wide range of antibiotics with a view to protect him/ her against all potential infections - which are common in such cases.

The patient may also be given more medicines with a view to combat the production of toxic substances. In addition, physicians attending the patient will work to identify the origin of the infection by staphylococcus bacteria and also eliminate all foreign elements, if any, from the patient's body. Provided the patient develops an abscess, it will be necessary to drain it out and examine the substance to make out the bacterium. In case the disease is detected timely and the patient is given appropriate medical care, he/ she may possibly recuperate completely within 2 to 3 weeks.

Supplements and herbs

Diets that are rich in vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, fresh peas, green beans, as well as fish and chicken help to fortify the immune system. In addition, consumption of fruits like apricots, apples, berries, bananas, melons, and pineapples, in addition to buckwheat and brown rice also strengthens the immunity of the body.

Use of specific herbs and supplements also help to make the body more resilient to infections. For instance, you may take supplements containing vitamin A to protect the body from infections. While vitamin C taken with bioflavonoids is vital for repairing body tissues and augmenting their competence in combating bacterial and viral infections, vitamin B complex is also helpful in enhancing the body's resistance to ailments.

Essential minerals like zinc and magnesium are also effective in boosting the immune system and lending a hand in combating infections by bacteria as well as viruses. Magnesium also makes properdin, a protein found in the blood that helps to combat the plaguing microbes.

Acidophilus plays a vital role in antibiotic treatment for restoring the so-called friendly bacteria in our body. Chlorophyll present in green vegetables as well as the herb burdock both are useful in cleansing the blood of all toxic substances. You may also use goldenseal, an herb that is considered to be a healer as well as cleanser. In addition, this herb also possesses natural antibiotic attributes.

Using garlic, which possesses antibiotic attributes, also helps to strengthen the immune system. In fact, garlic has been therapeutically used by people since long back. Consumption of just half a clove of garlic, an aromatic antibiotic, will provide you with additional boost in your struggle against TSS (toxic shock syndrome). Garlic is very effective in eliminating all detrimental bacteria from the body.

Chaparral is also effective in detoxifying the infected cells or those that have come in contact with the toxic substances produced by bacteria and viruses. Pau d' arco also helps in getting rid of toxic substances from the body, in addition to protecting the functioning of the liver.

Using a blend of the herbs red clover, barberry, sheep sorrel, licorice, buckthorn, peach bark, ginkgo biloba, prickly ash bark and rosemary leaf may also prove to be effective in preventing the recurrence of toxic shock syndrome as well as facilitating the treatment of the disease.

Taking Echinacea helps to fortify the immune system naturally. This herb encloses natural amalgams that help to combat bacteria and viruses in the same way as our immune system does. Echinacea is available commercially in tablet as well as liquid forms. You should use this herb when you are afflicted by toxic shock syndrome or anytime you may like to perk up the immune system.

Findings of a number of researches have demonstrated that use of red clover, which is generally used by homeopaths in the form of a useful expectorant, helps in providing relief from problems related to menstruation and also symptoms associated with toxic shock syndrome. Ideally, red clover should be taken in the form of pills or a tea. To prepare the tea, infuse about two to three teaspoons of dried up red clover in one cup (250 ml) of hot water for some minutes prior to drinking it. On the other hand, if you are using red clover pills, you need to take them according to the prescription of a homeopathic physician.

Tea tree oil is available as raw oil or forms a major ingredient in specialized body soaps. They are used topically to treat bacterial infections, including those by staphylococcus. Washing the affected area with this particular soap regularly will prove to be helpful in eliminating the staphylococcus bacteria that are usually present on our skin.

People, who have suffered from toxic shock syndrome earlier and have been cured of the disease, may expect it to happen again anytime. For this reason, you ought to always take measures to fortify your immune system using herbs so that it is able to combat all bacterial and viral infections effectively. In addition, if your wounds become infected or you are showing signs of being afflicted by toxic shock syndrome, it is advisable that you consult a physician for proper treatment.

Additional things you may do

In addition to using conventional drugs, as well as herbs and supplements, you may do a few more things to avoid toxic shock syndrome and also prevent its reoccurrence. For instance, people who have already suffered from this disease once should never use tampons, diaphragms, or vaginal sponges. Moreover, they should never use tampons all night. You should also not keep a contraceptive sponge/ tampon inside the vagina for over 24 hours.

It is advisable that you should change the tampons frequently and, if possible, you should use sanitary pads instead of tampons. Using tampons is strictly prohibited for women who may be enduring even minor vaginal discharges.

At the same time, you need to take a nourishing diet and stay away from using tobacco, caffeine, alcohol and avoidable medications to sustain a robust immune system. In case you are ill or require a surgery, your strong immunity will be able to combat any ensuing infection that is a resultant complication to such conditions.

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