Saturday, July 16, 2011

WARNING: Don't Let Your Daughter Become A Victim!

She thought she had the flu...fever, sore throat, sore muscles, but two days after walking into the hospital, Amy Rae Elifritz died from TSS.Toxic Shock Syndrome is an acute infection characterized by high fever, a sunburnlike rash, vomiting, and diarrhea, followed by, in severe cases, shock that is caused by a toxin-producing strain of the common bacterium staphylococcus aureus, occurring more often in young menstruating women, who use vaginal tampons.

Amy's Story

Amy was a healthy 20 year old, whose symptoms were initially very mild and did not cause any undue concern.  The fact that she was menstruating seemed unimportant.

On Wednesday afternoon prior to her death, she developed a fever and began vomiting. After an ibuprofen, her temperature quickly returned to normal. She assumed a flu bug had run its course.  Amy was able to chat on her computer and watch TV that night, she went to sleep easily.  Thursday morning, Amy felt somewhat better; her vomiting had ended, but she had developed diarrhea. She drank orange juice and 7-up to stay hydrated.

Friday morning, Amy woke up very weak with a sore throat and sore muscles, so her mother took her to Prompt Med as soon as it opened. Her blood pressure was low and her pulse rate high, so it was recommended that she go directly to the ER for hydration. When she arrived at the hospital, they immediately began fluids and did blood work only to discover her kidneys were at 25% function.  Amy was admitted. 

Saturday, Amy's condition had worsened. She had become septic and was moved to CCU where more aggressive treatment began.  Within hours she developed fluid in her lungs, was sedated, and put on a ventilator.

By Sunday morning, the stress on Amy's body began to take its toll on her heart. She had two episodes throughout the day that required her heart to be shocked back into rhythm. A third heart episode proved to be more than her body could withstand.

Amy died Sunday night, June 13, 2010 at 10:55 p.m.

Amy's mother, Lisa Elifritz, founded You ARE Loved to help raise awareness about the link between tampons and TSS with the goal of saving lives.    


Initially, toxic shock syndrome was associated with the use of ultra-absorbent tampons by menstruating girls and women. Between 1978 and 1980, thousands went to emergency rooms with high fever, vomiting, low blood pressure, diarrhea, and a rash resembling sunburn. Once ultra-absorbent tampons were taken off the market, the number of cases of toxic shock syndrome decreased substantially.
Although scientists still do not fully understand the link between TSS and tampons, most medical researchers suspect that tampons introduce oxygen into the vagina, which is normally an oxygen-free area of the body. Oxygen triggers bacterial growth, and the more absorbent the tampon, the longer it is left in place and the more toxin-producing bacteria it can harbor.

  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • General ill-feeling
  • Headaches
  • High fever, sometimes accompanied by chills
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Organ failure (usually kidneys and liver)
  • Redness of eyes, mouth, throat
  • Seizures
  • Widespread red rash that looks like a sunburn
  • Loss of fingers and toes due to gangrene
  • Permanent kidney and liver damage
  • Deafness and blindness
  • Peeling skin, and loss of nails and hair
  • Continual infections
  • Short term memory loss
  • No energy for months or even years
  • Psychological and emotional distress
  • Wash hands before and after changing a tampon
  • Change tampon frequently (every 4 to 6 hours) (My girls change their tampons everytime they have to use the bathroom, which is more frequent.)
  • Use tampons that are NOT super absorbent
  • Use pads at night (don't wear tampons all day)
  • Use mini pads on light days

Contact a doctor immediately if your daughter develops a high fever or rash while menstruating, particularly if she has been using tampons during the entire course of her menstruation. A fever or rash following recent surgery is also cause for concern. Getting medical help as soon as possible after noting these symptoms may be the difference between life and death. According to the Mayo Clinic, anyone who has had a previous staph or strep infection, should stop using tampons completely.

My 15-year-old daughter just started wearing tampons last month and we did discuss TSS, but after reading Amy's story, I'm having second thoughts about letting her wear tampons.
If you have a tween  or teen daughter, discuss these prevention strategies and signs and symptoms of TSS. 


About A Mom said...

Hi! This is very important info you have shared. Thanks for the friend request on Voiceboks! Glad to read your blog and be a new GFC follower. Please stop by to say hi and return the follow!

Small Kucing said...

Oh no...that is terrible. The symptoms sound so "normal". I wonder if some GP will be able to recognise the symptoms at all.


Lisa Elifritz said...

Thank you Laura for the great Blog entry bringing toxic shock syndrome to the attention of your readers. Amy was my beautiful daughter that was diligent about changing tampons like clockwork and only using regular absorbency to prevent TSS. Her diligence wasn't enough. TSS toxins begin to be produced within 2 hours of inserting a tampons! Changing a tampon every 4 hours is not good enough because that toxin stays in there waiting for that next tampon to be inserted to begin producing again. Please, Please, if you choose to use tampons containing rayon remember to use a pad at night. It takes eight hours for toxins to dissipate and your body needs this once a day.
Thanks again for your great post.

Anonymous said...

WOW. So scary. I thank you for sharing this and warning us all of this. Great knowledge!

Lots of love from Baby Pickel

w said...

oh. i do like that you've posted this. the information, that is. the story. sad. :(

Mommy LaDy Club said...

Boy, these stories just shoot you in the heart! How terrible. My husband is actually doing research on sepsis, which is the ultimate cause of death for many. There are some breakthroughs in this field of study coming, trying to get through the FDA. Lets hope that someday they can save young women like Amy.

Not Your Ordinary Agent said...

I always thought people needed to pay more attention to tss! Thank you for this post.

Dayna Musto said...

Hi, thank you for sharing Amy's story. So scary. I have a 15 year old that isn't using tampons yet thank God. Visiting from VB. Love your posts. Very informative and helpful.

Pinay Mommy Online said...

Hello! This is my first time here. Passing by and following.

Followed using Pinay Mommy Onine thru VoiceBoks.

Hopping from ^_^

Mom4Real said...

What a terrifying story! I am glad you posted this. I have a daughter who is only 8, but this absolutely made me sick to my stomach!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's very scary about tampons. Thanks for sharing this horrible but so necessary story. Glad to connect with you on vB.
Have a wonderful week,
Español para Niños (Spanish for Kids)

GJT said...

Yikes! How very scary. I have a while before my daughter enters this stage, but as for ME, I think this was helpful to remember.
Gina from vB

Anonymous said...

What a tragic story. Thank you for bringing attention to this. As a nurse, I am aware of TSS, though I've never personally seen it.


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P.S. Visiting from voiceBoks!

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Product Junkie Mama said...

This is very important info! You know I use tampons. Still. Yet, I am beginning to think about natural, organic means to deal with that time of the month. Have you heard of the Diva Cup? I am thinking about getting it. Thanks for sharing.

Morgan said...

So sad ... thanks for sharing.

Visiting from SITS :)

Mommy LaDy Club said...

Thank you for the reminder. That is heartbreaking and I feel for that family so much. Thanks for stopping by our blog, Laura.


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