Tetanus is also known as lockjaw and is a serious infection. This bacterium produces a toxin that affects the nervous system and brain, which leads to stiffness in the muscles. This infection can cause serious breathing problems, severe muscle pains and ultimately be fatal.
The risk of infection is high when the wound is open. One of the most serious infections that can arise from a puncture wound or an unclean injury is tetanus.
Tetanus infection usually occurs because of burns, animal bites, dental infections, chronic sores and infections, puncture wounds from tattoos, piercings or injection drug use and wounds diseased with feces, dirt or saliva.
Common symptoms of Tetanus.
Tetanus symptoms usually come about 7-10 weeks after initial infection, however, it can vary from 3 weeks to 4 and in some cases can also take months. The muscle symptoms include muscular spasms, muscular rigidity and stiffness. Breathing difficulties occur from neck and chest muscle stiffness. Patients also have symptoms such as diarrhea, bloody stools, fever and sensitivity to touch.
How to prevent Tetanus infection.
Most of the time, Tetanus occurs in people who have never been immunized or who didn’t receive a booster shot within the prior decade. The best way to prevent Tetanus is by getting a booster between the ages of 11 and 18 years and another booster every 10 years. If an individual is planning to travel to an area where Tetanus is common, they should take the vaccine before traveling.
Treatment of Tetanus infection.
If Tetanus does develop, medical help should be taken immediately. This includes taking care of the wound, an injection for tetanus antitoxin and a course of antibiotics. You may also receive medication such as chlorpromazine or diazepam for muscle pains.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This sections answers some of the most common questions regarding Tetanus.
Q. Is it curable?
It is a serious bacterial disease that affects the nervous system leading to pain in the jaw and neck muscles and painful muscle contractions. However, this disease is a threat to those who are not up to date with their vaccinations and it mostly persists in developing countries. Hence, there is no cure for Tetanus.
Q. Is it life-threatening?
If the patients don’t receive proper treatment, Tetanus can create life-threatening complications. The mortality rate varies from 40-76 percent
Q. Is it contagious?
Tetanus does not spread from person to person but the bacterial spores enter the wound for the infection to spread.
Q. Is it possible to take other vaccines at the same time?
Yes, the vaccine is safe to be taken along with other vaccines.
Q. Is it recommended for pregnant women?
Tetanus toxoid vaccine is given to all women during pregnancy.