Q. I got cold and fever after being under water for eight hours wearing a tampon. Do I have TSS?

Answered by
Dr. R Balakrishnan Menon
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 02, 2017 and last reviewed on: Aug 09, 2021

Hello doctor,

I am a 20 year old female, I am traveling, and a week back I went on a canyoning adventure while I was on my period. I wore a tampon for nearly eight hours while going in and out of the river water. The water was flowing so I hoped there would not be much dangerous bacteria, but I am worried about how much might have been soaked into the tampon. After few days, I got a cold with a fever, that has relocated to a painful chest cough. But, I am now beginning to be concerned that it could be toxic shock syndrome. I stopped taking birth control pills for the first time in three years about a week ago, so I have been experiencing some period like symptoms, like lower back pain, slight vaginal pain, etc. Should I seek medical attention? I prefer to avoid it as I am in a foreign country, but if it seems necessary, I will. Also, I am not sexually active.



Welcome to

Let me get few facts straight, toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a complication of using tampons, but it is not the commonest complication. So you have to rule out other common causes.

You have a risk of TSS if you do not change tampons for days, or have unhygienic methods of using them or if you left any cotton or pad in and forgot to take it out.

Just because it got wet with river water, you will not get TSS. Maybe the climate changes or exposure to someone with a respiratory infection has caused these symptoms.

I would suggest you do the following.

  1. Steam inhalation thrice a day.
  2. Luke warm water gargle.
  3. Try taking tablet Paracetamol 500 mg, twice to thrice a day.
  4. Any of the anti-allergic medicines at night.
  5. Have any of the antibiotics that you have, best is tablet Azithromycin 500 mg once a day, half an hour before food for three days.

Consult your specialist doctor, discuss with him or her and start taking the medicines after their consent.

I feel you will be okay within few days. TSS is a major infection and will make you entirely bedridden. Hope I have clarified your query, do write back if you have any more queries.

For further queries consult an obstetrician and gynaecologist online -->

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