Raise your hand if you've ever secretly worried that leaving your tampon in for any longer than four hours will give you Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Not just me, then? I can't help it — even though I know TSS is exceedingly rare, I think about it almost every time I'm on my period, and I'm always super paranoid about leaving my tampons in for too long.
However, according to a recent study in Lancet Infectious Diseases, we might not have to worry about TSS anymore soon. Why? Researchers in Vienna just completed the first phase of a clinical trial for a TSS vaccine, and the results were promising: Shape.com reports that people who received the shot experienced no negative side effects and began developing antibodies to the virus, which could be a sign of the vaccine's effectiveness.
All that said, the vaccine hasn't hit the market yet. In the meantime, the best way to prevent TSS — which affects around 1 in every 100,000 people — is to make sure you change your tampons every four hours. Also, symptoms of TSS tend to show up suddenly, progress quickly, and may mimic the flu — it's not uncommon for people to suffer from chills, headaches, nausea, muscles aches, vomiting, or diarrhea, Dr. Antonella Lavelanet told TeenVogue.com.
“TSS is also associated with a rash that looks like a sunburn and then spreads to a more severe rash over the palms of your hands and soles of your feet," she said. Again, TSS is incredibly rare; however, it can be deadly. If you think you may have TSS, head to the emergency room immediately.