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Mum's words of warning 10 years on from losing her bright young girl.

Byline: MARIE LEVY

A TEESSIDE mum is urging women to be more aware of the dangers of toxic shock syndrome 10 years after losing her teenage daughter to the condition.

Carol Martell of Acklam will never get over the death of 13-year-old Kayleigh but she hopes she can stop others having to suffer the same heartache.

Kayleigh was a bright, fun loving, healthy teenager but 10 years ago she suddenly became very ill and had to be rushed to hospital.

It was not until doctors asked if she had been using tampons that Carol realised exactly what they were dealing with and just how serious it could be.

After losing her little girl Carol launched a leaflet and poster campaign to raise awareness of toxic shock syndrome.

Now, as it approaches the tenth anniversary of Kayleigh's death on Saturday, she is reminding every woman on Teesside to take extra care.

"I still want to swipe all the tampons off the shelves but I would not stop people from using them," said Carol, 54.

"I just want people to use them with caution and think about what they are doing.

"If I had one simple rule it would be don't wear them at night. If you break the continuity of wear you can reduce the risk of infection and that one simple rule could have saved Kayleigh."

She said teenagers and new mums need to be particularly careful as their immune systems may not be up to full strength.

Carol said she will never get over losing a child but she has had to be strong for her other three children James, 30, Louise, 29 and Steven, 19.

"It's never going to go away. Time does not heal.

"It's just such a big part of your life you cannot ignore it.

"It affects my daily movements and decision making. I'm a changed person because of it but not always for the worse.

"It's made me more positive in that I now see this as being the worse thing that could possibly ever happen to me."

Carol, who works as a regeneration officer, says she will always remember her daughter as being fun loving and bright.

"On her last school report her English teacher had written one word and that was "star".

"She probably would have gone to university.

"She had a huge circle of friends. She was very popular.

"We had started having shopping trips together and I was beginning to look forward to having those special years as mothers and daughters do.

"She had made a pact with her friend and they were going off to America. Kayleigh was going to be an actress and Katie was going to be an illustrator and Katie's actually gone and done it."

The facts about toxic shock TOXIC shock syndrome develops when the common bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, produce a toxin which is absorbed into the bloodstream. The toxin rapidly overwhelms the immune system and attacks the major organs, leading to kidney failure, collapse of the lungs and in severe cases, cardiac arrest. Half of all known cases are caused by women using tampons. Early symptoms always begin AFTER a period starts and may include: * headache; * sore throat; * aching muscles, and * high temperature Followed by: * vomiting; * watery diarrhoea; * confusion; * dizziness; * a red, sunburn-like, rash on chest, abdomen or thighs, and * very low blood pressure. To find out more about toxic shock syndrome visit www.tamponalert.org.uk

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Main picture by PETER REIMANN TRAGIC LOSS: Previous Gazette stories about the tragic death of schoolgirl Kayleigh
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Sep 2, 2009
Words:592
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