Mom always said don’t wear your tampon for more than eight hours, but a British teen just learned why that warning is so, so important. Molly Pawlett, 14, nearly died of Toxic Shock Syndrome after she left a tampon in overnight.
The high schooler woke up on April 10 feeling under the weather but didn’t think much of it. That’s when her parent’s maternal instinct kicked in.
“At first I assumed Molly had a bug, but for some reason I had strange feeling it was something more serious,” Sonia Pawlett told the Daily Mail.
“I asked Molly if she was wearing a tampon, which she was,” she remembered. “I had told her not to wear a tampon overnight but of course, being 14, she thought she knew better.”
At this point, a rash had spread across the girl’s body. Even though Molly removed the tampon right away, she had already worn it for 10 hours and needed medical attention right away. “If we hadn’t of taken her to the hospital when we did then it could have been fatal,” Sonia said.
According the Mayo Clinic, Toxic Shock Syndrome is a rare, life-threatening complication caused by bacterial infections, The condition is most commonly associated with using superabsorbent tampons, or wearing tampons for an extended period of time. To reduce your risk, the Mayo Clinic advises using the lowest-absorbency possible and changing tampons at least every four to eight hours. Using pads and liners when your flow is light can also help.
Besides fever and a rash, TSS symptoms also include redness of the eyes, mouth and throat, which Molly also displayed. Her mom’s quick action probably saved her life, since the teen’s kidneys started to fail as her body shut down. Luckily, doctors stabilized her condition and Molly returned home after five days in the hospital.
The women are now raising awareness about the causes and symptoms of TSS. “A lot of the mothers I met at the hospital had heard of toxic shock but weren’t aware of any of the symptoms which is really dangerous,” Sonia explained.
“I usually wear a tampon and so do my friends at school, so I was completely shocked and didn’t think I was doing anything wrong,” Molly added. “I really want to encourage other girls not to leave tampons in for longer than eight hours. Thankfully I pulled through but others might not be as lucky.”