Lauren Wesser, a 24-year-old woman, was living a dream life. She was a model and loved her profession more than anything. But, on a terrible night of 2012, she was at a party and started to feel bad. The girl still tried to control her symptoms, but eventually went home, following her friends’ advice. Initially, Lauren thought it was nothing serious. “It was just flu-like symptoms, I was nauseous and sweating,” she said.
As soon as she got home, she fell asleep and only woke up with the police knocking at her door. The mother of the model had called the authorities because she didn’t know the whereabouts of the daughter. At that point, Lauren made sure she was fine, that she just wanted to get some sleep. But since her mother didn’t hear from her the next morning, she called all her friends. As none knew of her whereabouts, she contacted the police again.
30 minutes after the call, the officers were able to enter the apartment and found Lauren on the floor in the bedroom. “I had a fever of 41 degrees, my kidneys were about to fail and I had a heart attack.”
Lauren was rushed to the hospital, but no doctor knew what could have happened to the healthy 24-year-old woman. Only one of the health professionals had a suspicion of what could have caused all those problems. The doctor’s guess finally came true: blood tests tested positive for Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Once they had treated the symptoms, the model began to respond much better to treatments. But doctors were still skeptical about Lauren’s chances of survival.
“They told my mother and godfather that they should prepare my funeral, that there was no way for me to survive, it would be a miracle,” said the young woman.
The young woman was in a coma and doctors worked hard to save her life. Lauren woke up a week and a half later, but, when she opened her eyes, she realized that the situation was serious: the model felt swollen and had a burning sensation in her feet.
By mistake, she realized she would lose part of herself when she heard a nurse talking on the phone. “I remember she was talking to someone and said, ‘I have a 24-year-old girl here who needs amputation below the knee in her right leg.'” It was very difficult for Lauren to sign the document to approve the amputation.
But Lauren is strong and, instead of giving up, she turned her pain into something useful. She has modeled in several campaigns with her leg prosthesis, and works hard to spread the word about Toxic Shock Syndrome, as well as the risks associated with tampons.
TSS is caused by staphylococci. These bacteria can multiply if they come in contact with human blood for a long period of time. In this case, the contact occurred due to a tampon. The poison produced by staphylococci causes the body to end up in a so-called state of shock. This means that the blood pressure decreases a lot and the body tissues don’t get the oxygen they need. The shock condition should be treated intensively with antibiotics as soon as possible so that the person can recover.
Recently, the model had to amputate the other leg, also as a side effect of the terrible Toxic Shock Syndrome, and is trying to adapt to the new life.
Here are some symptoms of TSS:
- Vomiting or diarrhea.
- Skin irritation or red eyes.
- Swollen feet or hands.
- Muscle aches.
- Dizziness and cold sweats.
- Menstruation with intense odor (be aware of this symptom only if you are using a tampon).
How to avoid:
- Change the tampon every 8 hours at the most. Preferably, it should be changed every 4 hours.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before replacing absorbent.
- The risk of having TSS using tampons is very low if you follow these tips.
If you want to know more about the model, see Lauren giving an interview below.
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