An Indiana mom of six is warning against tampon use after two of her daughters were sent to the hospital with sepsis from toxic shock syndrome infections.
“We honestly thought we were going to lose them,” expressed Javon Johnson, 46, of Elkhart, in an interview with Kennedy News. “They were both in really bad shape. It was a touchy situation because their organs were inflamed and at risk of shutting down.”
Johnson recounted that her daughter Devine, 21, fell ill in May 2022 after using a “super-plus absorbency” tampon. She had just finished her period when she developed flu-like symptoms and an inability to walk without assistance.
Devine spent a week in the intensive care unit. The family returned to the hospital that July when Johnson’s daughter Jaya, 17, experienced similar symptoms during a family vacation to Florida.
“She had only used tampons for the very first time in the last two days,” Javon explained. “We were in Florida on a family vacation, and she just wanted to use it to go swimming.”
Javon initially thought Jaya was experiencing heat stroke due to the redness on the palms of her hands — until Jaya’s condition worsened with a viral infection, nausea, and high fevers.
She was reportedly taken to the emergency room, only to be given ibuprofen, and later lost consciousness, ultimately requiring an ambulance to bring her back to the hospital.
“We couldn’t believe this had actually happened to us again. What are the odds?” Javon expressed.
Jaya was diagnosed with sepsis from toxic shock syndrome, just like Devine.
Toxic shock syndrome, often associated with tampon use, is a bacterial condition that affects 1 in every 100,000 people, according to The Cleveland Clinic. It can cause severe organ damage or death.
“It was a deja vu moment when we got the same diagnosis for [Jaya] just 30 days later,” Javon confessed. “We just got one kid out of the ICU, who is still recovering, and now we’ve got another kid who was about to start this process again, but she looked worse.”
The childcare business owner disclosed that doctors said her daughters’ infections were caused by the “higher potency chemicals” in super-plus absorbency tampons, which the sisters reportedly used.
Moreover, Javon said her daughters used tampons from the same box but didn’t sleep with them in.
“I didn’t think people would believe it happened to two of my girls within 30 days of each other in the same year. That was unrealistic odds,” Javon said.
Both daughters had a slow recovery process, Javon said, and in the year since, the Johnson home has become tampon-free.
“Nobody can use them, so we don’t keep them in the house,” she declared. “I would just not recommend tampons at all at this point. I advocate not using tampons at all as they’re not safe to use.”
Meanwhile, the Johnson family remains focused on helping their daughters through this ordeal.
“My husband and I are grateful because both of them survived it,” Javon sighed.