What is tetanus?

Tetanus is also called lockjaw. It is a serious infection caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani.

What happens in the tetanus disease?

The bacterium produces a toxin that affects the brain and nervous system. Tetanus causes stiffness in the muscles.

Tetanus causes

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:

-Puncture wounds

-Gunshot wounds

-Compound fractures

-Burns

-Surgical wounds

-Injection drug use

-Animal or insect bites

-Infected foot ulcers

-Dental infections

-Infected umbilical stumps

 

Tetanus Symptoms

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.

-Spasms/stiffness in your jaw

-Stiffness of your neck muscles

-Difficulty swallowing

-Stiffness of your abdominal muscles

-Painful body spasms lasting for several minutes

Possible other signs and symptoms include:

-Fever

-Sweating

-Elevated blood pressure

-Rapid heart rate

Tetanus Treatment

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:

-Wound care

Clean the wound thoroughly to prevent growth of tetanus spores. Remove any dirt, foreign objects and dead tissue.

-Medication

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:

-Control bleeding – Apply direct pressure

-Keep the wound clean – Clean the wound thoroughly to get rid of any foreign matter

-Use an antibiotic – To deal with the pain

-Cover the wound – Keep the wound covered to prevent any foreign matter from settling in

-Change the dressing – If you can’t see a doctor immediately, change the dressing yourself to ensure the wound remains clean.

 

Tetanus prevention

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 Vaccination

Tetanus Vaccine

Tetanus vaccine is also known as tetanus toxoid (TT). The tetanus vaccine is an inactive vaccine used to prevent tetanus.

Tetanus Vaccine Schedule

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.

Tetanus injection side effects

The side effects of the tetanus injection include:

-Mild fever

-joint pain

-muscle aches

-nausea

-tiredness

-pain, itching, swelling, redness at the injection site may occur.

Tetanus injection duration

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.

How can we help?

If you have a young child who has not received their tetanus vaccination or are worried about that the tetanus injection validity might be up for you, give us a call. At Portea, we understand that there should be no compromises when it comes to healthcare. We send our best medical experts to your home to take care of and your young ones.

 

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References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetanus_vaccine

http://www.who.int/ith/vaccines/tetanus/en/

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/tetanus/index.html

https://www.webmd.com/vaccines/tetanus-vaccine#1

https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/tetanus-toxoid-intramuscular-route-injection-route/description/drg-20066243

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