Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is caused when the normal bacteria you have in your vagina get out of balance. Staph or strep bacteria overgrow and release a toxin that makes you really sick. Symptoms of TSS are fever, vomiting, dizziness, muscle aches and weakness, and a sunburn-like rash on your skin. If you have signs of TSS, you need to go to your healthcare professional right away. It is a serious illness and if you don't seek care fast enough, you can die from it. I'm not trying to freak you out, but I also don't want you ignoring the symptoms, assuming you just have the flu and your period at the same time. You don't have to be using a tampon to get TSS. It can happen anywhere there are bacteria and blood mixed together in just the wrong way like in your nose or even a cut, but tampons do increase the chances a bit, especially if you don't change your tampon every 4-8 hours. In addition to changing your tampon regularly when you have your period, you can use pads at night and at other times to decrease the risk. Eating a healthy diet, especially one with yogurt in it, can help keep the bacteria balance right and decrease the chance of bacteria imbalance and TSS.
I think it's awesome that you're asking this question! It shows that you're being responsible with your health. I remember the first time I tried using a tampon. Beyond worrying about how the heck I was going to insert the thing, the TSS information scared me silly. I'm not a medical professional, but my two cents would be to follow the directions for tampon usage provided in the box. For example, while it's eco-friendly to conserve, you shouldn't try it with tampons. Never use them longer than 4-8 hours. And be sure to check out Health Expert Dr. Molly's response for a medically-based answer.
First, I highly suggest reading over your product information carefully. I am always sure to change my tampon every 4-8 hours and I usually do not sleep with one in. I've also found the multi-absorbency tampon packs great for using only the minimal amount of absorbency that I need. If you have more questions, you can ask your healthcare professional (and see what Dr. Molly, one of our Health Experts, has to say).
Help!! I just got my period and its super light and almost just spotting but I've been using tampons. The tampons were light but Im scared I'm gonna get TSS!!! I havent left one in for more than 8 hrs but Im so scared Im gonna get TSS for using one when my period wasnt heavy!!" - HELP ME ASAP