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Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School

Symptoms

The majority (80%) of patients with group A streptococcal toxic shock syndrome have symptoms of a soft-tissue infection (pain, redness, warmth, swelling) in an area just below the skin or in a muscle. Patients with staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome may have a staphylococcal infection anywhere in the body and the site of infection may not be immediately apparent.

Symptoms of toxic shock include:

  • Flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea

  • Hypotension (low blood pressure) with a weak and rapid pulse

  • A red rash that covers the whole body, sometimes followed by peeling skin (the rash may be difficult to see in dark-skinned individuals)

  • Decreased urine output

  • Confusion, disorientation or other mental changes

  • Swelling in the hands, feet and ankles

  • Severe breathing difficulties

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