If you have ever considered skipping that Tetanus shot, re-consider your decision.
That shot is your best defense against a life-threatening disease that is hard to prevent and treat.
Even if treatment is successful, the disease itself can be extremely painful and may cause serious damage to your body.
Keep the following information in mind next time when it’s time for your Tetanus shot.
What is Tetanus?
Tetanus is a disease caused by a bacterium known as Clostridium tetani. This bacterium is normally found in soil and animal feces but is also present in other places as well. Normally, you wouldn’t have to worry about the bacterium.
However, if its spores make their way into a wound in your body, they will begin production of a toxin substance known as tetanospasmin that will cause problems in your nerves that are able to control the muscles of your body.
What are the Symptoms of Tetanus?
You may begin to see signs of an infection in a few days or you may have to wait for a couple of weeks.
The average time is eight days. After that period, you’ll begin to have serious symptoms. These include muscle spasms in your jaw and neck. These spasms can be very strong and painful.
As the toxin progresses through your body, you may also begin having spasms in your chest, back, and abdomen. When the spasms start affecting the respiratory muscles in your chest, you may find breathing difficult.
Additionally, the spasms may give way to stiffness which can make it almost impossible for you to swallow(swallowing difficulty). You may have heard of this symptom which is known as lockjaw. Often these symptoms are accompanied by fever.
How is Tetanus Treated?
When you are diagnosed with Tetanus, your physician will probably use medications to treat the disease. You’ll be given an antitoxin to fight the tetanospasmin and an antibiotic to combat the bacterial infection.
However, treatment is not always effective. Because the disease can affect your heart and lungs, the mortality risk associated with this infection is high.
How can I Protect Myself from Tetanus?
The best prevention is to receive a Tetanus vaccination. Most people receive their first one as children but boosters are required periodically. Receiving a booster every five to ten years is a good idea.
If you suffer from a serious wound that may have been contaminated, you should definitely talk to your doctor about receiving the booster.