What is Tetanus?
Tetanus or lockjaw is an infection caused by the clostridium tetani bacteria. When the bacteria enters the body, it produces a poison (toxin) that causes painful muscle contraction. Since the bacteria is found in soil, dust, and manure, it enters the body through breaks in skin by cuts or puncture wounds caused by contaminated objects.
Signs and Symptoms
- Jaw muscle tightening (lockjaw)
- Jaw cramping
- Muscle spasms in stomach
- Changes in blood pressure and heart rate
How does Tetanus spread?
- Wounds contaminated with dirt, feces, or saliva
- Wounds caused by an object puncturing the skin like nail or needle
- Crushing injuries
- Surgical procedures
- Injuries with dead tissue
- Dental infection
- Insect bites
- Compound fracture
- Chronic source and infections
- IV drug use
What are the complications of Tetanus?
- Laryngospasm (uncontrolled tightening of vocal cords)
- Pulmonary embolism
- Difficulty breathing possibly leading to death
What is the Tetanus Vaccine and how do you prevent it?
Vaccination is essential in preventing tetanus. Adequate wound care is also important. The vaccines available are listed below,
- Vaccines against diphtheria and tetanus (DT and Td)
- When it includes protection against whooping cough or pertussis (DTap and DT)
- Babies and children less than 7 years old receive DTap or DT, while order children and adults should receive Tdap and Td
Who needs the Tetanus Vaccine?
The vaccines are recommended for people of all ages with booster shots throughout their lifetime.
- Babies, preteens and teens, pregnant women, and adults. Adults can get a booster of Td or Tdap every 10 years