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Teenage girl dies of Toxic Shock Syndrome after doctors mistook illness for Norovirus

Toxic Shock Syndrome

(NaturalNews) Though rare, toxic shock syndrome is not unheard of. It primarily affects young menstruating women, unaware of the hidden dangers of using tampons. Sometimes fatal, TSS is an infection caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which can begin to colonize, reaching dangerous levels in the body through prolonged tampon use.

The bacteria produces harmful exotoxins that upon entrance into the bloodstream cause sudden fever, vomiting or diarrhea, muscle aches, confusion, headaches and seizures, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The disease mainly affects women aged between 13 and 25, because they are the most likely group to wear tampons. Risks for the bacterial infection increase when a person wears a tampon for an extended period of time.

Half of TSS cases linked to tampon use

A British teen lost her life to the disease last year, after doctors misdiagnosed her as having Norovirus, a nasty stomach bug, and told her to keep away from hospitals. Only after her condition continued to deteriorate, prompting her family to rush her back to the hospital, did doctors realize their mistake.

But by then it was too late.

The 13-year-old Jemma-Louise Roberts passed away from a brain bleed while on a heart and lung machine. Blood tests later showed evidence of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. Reports say the girl began using tampons as a more convenient way to mange her periods during swim meets. Jemma-Louise was a competitive breaststroke swimmer, according to the Manchester Evening News.

Determined to spread awareness about TSS, Louise's mother Diane Roberts is speaking out.

"TSS used to be talked about in the '80s, but you never hear it now," said Roberts. "My husband had never heard of TSS — if one dad reads this and his daughter falls ill, it could save her life."

Roberts is right. TSS is rarely talked about since its decline in the 1980s, due to public health intervention. The disease was first linked to high absorbency tampons (a brand called Rely), made by Procter and Gamble in 1978. Rely tampons were touted for their ability to "contain the menstrual flow without leaking or requiring frequent replacement," says News-Medical.net.

Health officials ignore risks associated with tampons

However, Rely soon became associated with an increased risk for TSS. Its occurrence became so common in menstruating women that it was considered an epidemic. As a result, Procter and Gamble were forced to recall their Rely tampons. Though less common, the disease still poses a threat to women, because high-absorbency tampons are still on the market today.

Public service announcements regarding the dangers of wearing a tampon for prolonged periods helped reduce the disease's occurrence. But today, as Roberts pointed out, we are rarely reminded of the dangers.

Due to their makeup, tampons pose other health risks, which are also less-talked about. Most tampons are made of a combination of viscose rayon (synthetic fibers) and cotton. This raises cause for concern, considering the process for producing man-made fibers involves them being treated with harsh chemicals, and because the majority of cotton harvested in the U.S. is genetically engineered, meaning it's laden with toxic herbicides.

In November last year, researchers from Argentina discovered that 85 percent of cotton-based feminine hygiene products contained glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup. The findings are alarming, considering glyphosate was officially declared carcinogenic by the World Health Organization last spring.

Tampons aren't the only products laced with herbicides; sterile cotton gauze, cotton swabs and wipes, also tested positive for glyphosate.

"The study looked at a sampling of products from pharmacies and supermarkets in the area of La Plata, and analyzed cotton swabs, gauze and articles for feminine use. The results from all commercial products detected 85% glyphosate and 62% AMPA," researchers said. "Almost 100% of the cotton produced in Argentina is transgenic and glyphosate applications are made while the cocoon is open."

The best way for women to stay protected against TSS is to change tampons frequently, and to avoid using high-absorbency tampons altogether. Educating young women about the risks and symptoms of TSS can also save lives.







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