The biological ‘time of the month’ is normal for most women, just as normal as it is to use tampons or period-pads to take care of it and go about the day.
But, a 15-year-old, Michigan girl named Rylie Whitten, suffered one of the worst cases of toxic shock syndrome that physicians had ever seen.
Toxic shock syndrome was first discovered in 1978, and sources of it were mostly associated with super-absorbent tampons, which later ceased in production and distribution.
The DeVos pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Daliya Khuon, said that ‘toxic shock syndrome’, occurs when some bacteria which are always in the body, get stimulated and overgrow, then release toxins into the blood, and alert the immune system to respond by wreaking havoc in various organs of the body.1
This a bacterial infection that can occur in men and women and spreads quickly after a wound or surgery and can be fatal or cause grave complications if not treated as soon as possible.
What happened to Rylie was that the tampon she used at the time, stimulated excessive production staph A bacteria.
It is however very rare and has affected only 1 in 100,000, over the years.
Rylie’s initial symptoms were sudden body aches and vomiting, but, her parents assumed it was because of flu. However, her condition continued to worsen and within a few days she was in excessive pain and couldn’t move.
That was when Rylie’s father Nate Whitten and mother, rushed her to an ER, but her condition felt as though they would lose her in any minute.
After conducting a few blood tests to rule out ailments like meningitis, it was revealed that she had kidney failure and they finally realized that she had toxic shock syndrome.
She was unconscious for almost two weeks and admitted into the ICU of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.
Rylie was kept alive using life support along with a heart and lung bypass machine, but is now finally able to speak a few words to her parents, although incoherent because she is still strapped to a ventilator.
Her father said they were blessed to have their daughter back. All she needed was some serious detox, rehab and speech therapy, also because her muscles turned weak due to a touch of pneumonia.
Her doctor, Dr. Surender Rajasekaran, said she was could have lost her life but was very lucky.
Rylie is now making a progressive recovery.
The family was able to pay off her medical bills because of some financial help from relatives and a GoFundMe page.
Her father said that, their small community’s prayers and support meant everything and kept them from losing hope. He also made sure to share his daughter’s story so readers everywhere could be vigilant about the little-known, toxic shock syndrome.
Before this incident, Rylie was active and healthy, with cheer-leading, soccer, and even violin, so her recovery was said to be a speedy one.
To make sure that you prevent any chances of getting toxic shock syndrome, make sure: -To use low-absorbent tampons, so you change them frequently and enable less bacteria build up.
-Switch to pads at night instead of using tampons.
-Practice good hygiene, and wash moisture building parts of your body frequently.
And in case, you feel that you have a high fever, sunburn-like rashes, body pain and diarrhea, do get medical help immediately.
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