Tetanus is a bacterial infection which causes painful muscle spasms, which can also lead to death. Tetanus infection is also called as lockjaw. Thanks to its widespread use of the tetanus vaccine, tetanus has become very rare in the country. Tetanus infection is not contagious as you cannot get it through another person’s cut or wound.
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The tetanus bacteria is commonly present in manure, dust, and even in soil. The bacteria can infect a person even through a tiny scratch. However, a person is more likely to suffer from a tetanus infection through punctured wounds inflicted through nails or knives.
The tetanus bacteria travels via blood through nerves to the central nervous system.
Following are the symptoms of Tetanus
The symptoms of tetanus result from a toxin produced by the tetanus bacteria. A person suffering from tetanus infection might experience symptoms around a week after the infection.
The most common symptoms of the tetanus infection is the stiffness in the jaw, making it locked. Thus the disease is also referred to as locked jaw disease.
Other symptoms include
- Sweating followed by fever
- High blood pressure and palpitations
One of the most distinct symptoms of tetanus is a steady grin which is a result of muscle spasms in the face.
If the symptoms are not treated timely it can cause death due to suffocation.
If a person has never received tetanus vaccine as a child, then it is advisable that he or she starts a primary series of three doses, with the first one being a trio combination called Tdap which protects the patient’s body against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Other doses are dual vaccine that cover tetanus and diphtheria.
These tetanus vaccines are received over a period of 7 to 12 months. A Td booster is usually recommended every 10 years.
A person should receive a tetanus vaccine if:
- He or she has not received primary doses of tetanus as a child.
- The person has recovered from tetanus recently.
A person should not receive a tetanus vaccine when:
- He or she suffers from severe allergic reaction after the previous doses.
- The person has a history of seizures within a week of getting a Tdap vaccine.
People suffering from episodes of epilepsy or other nervous system complications should not get a tetanus vaccination.
People who have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome should also not get a tetanus vaccination.
Pregnant women, however, can receive tetanus vaccine, especially to prevent pertussis.
A tetanus vaccine can sometimes cause mild side effects which include fatigue followed by fever, headache, body ache, and soreness.
There are very rare chances that a person might suffer from severe allergic reaction within the minutes of getting administered from the vaccination. The symptoms include skin flushing, itching or swelling, respiratory ailments, nausea, dizziness, and low blood pressure.
If you or a person you know experience any of these symptoms or severe reactions, call 911 or find a hospital near by to get the symptoms examined and treated.