Tetanus is also called lockjaw. It is a serious infection caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani.
The bacterium produces a toxin that affects the brain and nervous system. Tetanus causes stiffness in the muscles.
Clostridium tetani, spores of the bacteria that cause tetanus, can be found in the soil, dust and animal feces. Upon entering a deep flesh wound, the tetanus spores grow into bacteria. This may produce a potent toxin known as tetanospasmin and can impair the nerves that control your muscles. Tetanospasmin can also cause muscle stiffness and spasms.
Tetanus cases are usually found in people who have never taken the tetanus vaccination or adults who have not kept up with their tetanus vaccine shots. Tetanus is not contagious.
The risk factor increases if there are:
You may start seeing these signs and symptoms of tetanus after the tetanus bacteria enters your body through a wound. These signs can appear anywhere between a few days to several weeks. The average incubation period is seven to 10 days.
Possible other signs and symptoms include:
There is no cure for tetanus. The only way to prevent the tetanus disease is to take the tetanus vaccination and to keep up with the tetanus shots according to the tetanus vaccine schedule.
After receiving an injury, as part of the tetanus treatment, it is recommended to take a tetanus shot if the patient does not remember when was the last time they took a tetanus injection.
Tetanus treatment may also consist of:
Clean the wound thoroughly to prevent growth of tetanus spores. Remove any dirt, foreign objects and dead tissue.
The doctor can give you a tetanus antitoxin, such as tetanus immune globulin.
To fight the tetanus bacteria, the doctor may give you antibiotics, either orally or by injection.
Powerful sedatives may be required to control muscle spasms.
Other drugs. To regulate involuntary muscle activity other medications, such as magnesium sulfate and certain beta blockers may be given. Morphine might be used for this purpose as well as sedation.
In case there is a minor wound, follow these steps to help prevent tetanus:
As mentioned before, tetanus prevention is the way to treat tetanus. Make sure your child gets the tetanus vaccine. For adults, it is important to remember the last date of their tetanus vaccination as the tetanus injection comes with a validity. Post that, you need to take the tetanus vaccine again.
Tetanus vaccine is also known as tetanus toxoid (TT). The tetanus vaccine is an inactive vaccine used to prevent tetanus.
The tetanus vaccine schedule for children includes receiving a tetanus shot in 4 stages before 2 years of age. After that, they need to take the tetanus toxoid at 4 to 6 years age. At 11 to 12 years of age, another tetanus shot is recommended.
For adults, the tetanus toxoid is recommended every 10 years of adulthood. The tetanus injection is also given to women in their second half of their pregnancy whether they have received the tetanus injection as part of the vaccination or not. This is done as part of tetanus treatment to prevent neonatal tetanus.
The tetanus injection duration for TT is 5 years. If you are worried about the tetanus injection validity, then it is safer to get a booster dose than get tetanus.