Tetanus or lockjaw is a bacterial disease that affects the nerves and muscles. Tetanus is caused by the Clostridium tetani bacteria that enter the body through a skin wound. The bacteria produce a neurotoxin that leads to muscle spasms. The muscles of the face and jaw are first affected. The area of the wound is also affected. The toxin then affects other parts of the body as it travels through the blood and lymph systems. Tetanus can be fatal if not treated promptly. Tetanus can occur in cases of injury such as small cuts, frostbite or burn. Tetanus-causing bacteria are found in soil, saliva or feces and contaminated needles. Newborn infants can get affected by tetanus due to unsanitary conditions during childbirth.
Symptoms of tetanus include muscle spasms in the jaw. The patient may notice these spasms later in the neck, shoulders, abdomen and limbs. Fever and irritability are often noticed. Severe spasms can cause difficulty in breathing. If you have a wound, ensure that it is kept clean. If there is a risk of tetanus infection, the doctor may give a shot of tetanus vaccine. Antibiotics may also be prescribed. Sedatives may be given if the patient suffers from muscle spasms. Tetanus usually occurs in people who have not be immunized or haven't had a booster shot.
Tetanus can be easily prevented by the immunization vaccine. Tetanus vaccination is part of the immunization schedule for children. Pregnant women are given tetanus vaccines during their pregnancy. Routinely, it is advised that all adults must receive a tetanus booster vaccine every 10 years. Typically tetanus vaccine is given along with the diphtheria vaccine.
The diphtheria vaccine has been part of the immunization schedule for children since many decades. It is called the DTP vaccine as it is given in combination with tetanus and pertussis. This diphtheria vaccine is a toxin usually given to an infant and followed by booster shots. Older children and adults must also be vaccinated against diphtheria. Sometimes there is a reaction to the diphtheria vaccine. A child may develop swelling and redness at the vaccination spot. These reactions usually disappear in a couple of days. In rare cases, there is an allergic reaction that leads to shock or seizure.
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: August 22, 2019