Tetanus Vaccination – A Short Guide

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Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by the Clostridium tetani bacterium. Due to the high vaccination rates for tetanus, only about 30 cases of tetanus are recorded every year in the United States. 

Tetanus vaccines are a part of the recommended vaccinations in children since it makes the disease preventable and reduces any risks of the infection affecting your health. Vaccinations in Rockville for tetanus are available. 

Causes of Tetanus

The Clostridium tetani bacterium exists in the environment and contaminates your body in several ways. The most common way is when it infects you through broken skin. Open wounds due to scratches or punctures by needles, contamination of these wounds with saliva and dirt, burns, and other injuries are some causes of broken skin.

Other causes could be dental infections, incorrect surgeries, chronic infections, intravenous drug use, and compound fractures. Testing is usually conducted with physical exams, and lab tests might be done to ensure it is not a disease with similar symptoms. 

Symptoms of Tetanus

Tetanus is also called “lockjaw” due to the cramping and spasms it primarily causes in the jaw. The muscle contractions can cause stiffness, extreme pain, spasms, loss of proper movement, and cramping. Spasms might also occur in areas such as the back, neck, abdomen, and chest. 

People experience loss of breath and are unable to swallow. They might also develop fevers, restlessness, shaking, irritability, nervous system dysfunction, high blood pressure, and an increased heart rate. 

Symptoms usually occur two weeks after the initial infection or earlier if the condition is more severe. Your immunization history regarding tetanus is also relevant in determining the intensity of your symptoms. 

Lack of Treatment

Severe complications, including death, might occur if tetanus is not treated at all or effectively. This includes breaking of bones due to the intensity of convulsions, pneumonia (which is an infection that leads to inflammation in the lung’s air sacs), insufficient oxygen (due to breathing problems causing damage to the brain), involuntary tightening of the vocal cords, and blood clotting causing blockages in the lung arteries. 

It is essential to get treatment for tetanus immediately after you experience one of the causes or symptoms. 

Treatment Options

After a wound, it is always advisable to immediately clean and sanitize it to help prevent the infection. Vaccination and subsequent booster shots every ten years are the best ways to prevent tetanus. 

Treatment methods include TIG or tetanus immune globulin (which is made of antibodies to neutralize the toxins released by bacteria and kill them), antibiotics such as penicillin, other medication to regulate your muscle movement and heart rate, ventilators to aid your breathing, and surgeries to remove infected tissues. 

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