Maura Higgins has shared the details of her scary experience of toxic shock syndrome (TSS). The Love Island star, 31, revealed that she was 'so ill' after incurring the disease, which was the result of a tampon being stuck inside her for three months.
Opening up on ITV's Shopping with Keith Lemon, Maura candidly discussed the terrifying time. 'I did have a very bad experience. I'm not a doctor, I don't know much about that [TSS], but I know you are not meant to leave a tampon inside for more than, I think it's nine hours, I think that's the max.' (The NHS states that you should change tampons regularly and as often as the pack tells you to – usually, this is at least every four to eight hours.)
'There was a tampon inside me for three months. When the doctor found it, it was stuck to my cervix. And I was so ill. I did not know what was going on... There were people that have died from that happening.'
TSS is rare, but it can escalate rapidly and can prove fatal in some cases. If diagnosed and treated early, though, most people fully recover. It is caused by certain strains of Staphylococcus bacteria getting into the body and releasing harmful toxins, says the NHS. While it's typically thought about in association with tampon use, it can also be caused by the bacteria getting in via a wound.
Maura went on to say: 'Young girls might not have noticed, like you go on a night out, what if you got really drunk and forgot, like, these things actually do happen, and people don't speak about it.
'I remember even being in school, I used to get my tampon out the bag, push it up my sleeve and then go to the toilet like that... thinking back, why was I doing that? It's nothing to be ashamed about, that's why I think it's an important topic isn't it?'
What are the symptoms of toxic shock syndrome?
The NHS states that: 'The symptoms of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) start suddenly and get worse quickly. They include:
a high temperature
flu-like symptoms, such as a headache, feeling cold, feeling tired or exhausted, an aching body, a sore throat and a cough
feeling and being sick
a widespread sunburn-like rash
lips, tongue and the whites of the eyes turning a bright red
dizziness or fainting
What should you do, if you think you have toxic shock syndrome?
TSS is a medical emergency. If you have a combination of the above symptoms – although they could be down to a different condition – the NHS states that you should contact your GP, a local out-of-hours service, or NHS 111 as soon as possible.
If your symptoms are severe or are quickly getting worse, head to A&E or call 999 and ask for an ambulance. If you've got a tampon in, remove it right away. If a doctor thinks you do have TSS, you'll be referred to hospital for urgent treatment.
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