Doctors Warn Of Toxic Shock Syndrome After Woman's Death

20-Year-Old Woman Died From Complications In June

Doctors are making a renewed push to educate women about the dangers of Toxic Shock Syndrome after a recent death.

Amy Elifritz, 20, a graphic design student from Columbus, died in June from complications from TSS, family members told 6News' Stacia Matthews.

The disorder is caused by staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium found in the vagina.

High-absorbency tampons provide a moist, warm place for the bacteria to thrive, and if not changed regularly, the bacteria can grow into a deadly toxin infecting the body, causing organs to shut down.

The number of TSS cases dropped in the `80s after a tampon brand called Rely was pulled off the market, but doctors warn that women should still be vigilant.

"It hasn't gone away," said Dr. Tameka O'Neal, an OB-GYN with St. Vincent Hospital.

She said she tells her young patients to read the labels of tampon boxes and to change their tampons every four to six hours.

O'Neal also cautioned against using super absorbency tampons or more than one tampon at a time.

"Typically, I say a regular tampon is good enough. If they're experiencing break through bleeding with that, maybe they can go to the next level," she said.

Signs of TSS include a foul odor, flu-like symptoms and a rash.