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Information about Tetanus

We Have to Know about the Tetanus

  • Tetanus is a life-threatening infection caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria and one of the major causes of new born deaths.
  • Tetanus bacteria usually enter the body through a puncture wound, cut, scrape or some other break in the skin.
  • Inside the skin, and under absence of air (Oxygen), they multiply and produce a toxin, or poison, that affects nerve connections acting on muscles.
  • Proper treatment is required as the toxin’s effect on respiratory muscles and can interfere with breathing.

Causes of Tetanus

  • The bacteria spores that cause tetanus are found in soil & dust exposed to animal feces.
  • Tetanus spores may enter the human body through cuts, punctures, crush injuries, pin prick, burns, human bites and animal bites.
  • Neonate gets infection through the cut end of umbilical cord by the use of non-sterile instrument.
  • In rare cases, a tetanus infection also can occur after non-sterile surgery, an ear infection, a dental infection or an abortion.

Do’s and Don’ts of Tetanus

  • Rinse the wound thoroughly with clean water.
  • Clean the wound and the area around it with soap.
  • If bleeding is not profuse let it open to air do not apply oily or greasy creams & ointments
  • Cover the wound with a bandage
  • Deep cuts, animal bites or dirty wounds may increase the risk of tetanus infection. See a doctor if unsure of the immunization status
  • See the doctor if not immunized for lost 3 years

Signs & Symptoms of Tetanus     

The symptoms of tetanus begin seven to eight days after tetanus bacteria enter the body.

  • Baby will take normal feeds, and actively suckle the breast for 1st & 2nd day only but will not be able to suckle the breast after 2nd day. Baby cries with stimulation like touch, light and sound.
  • Spasms in the jaw muscles (lockjaw)
  • Stiff muscles in the neck, shoulder and back , difficulty swallowing, prolonged contraction of the facial muscles, muscle spasms and muscle rigidity in the chest, abdomen and extremities
  • Fever and profuse sweating
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures and patient is conscious and experience the painful spasms later stages he may become unconscious.

Risk Factors of Tetanus

  • New borne will have a risk of getting infection if mother is  un-immunized in antenatal period
  • Agriculture laborers & people working in rural occupations have risk of injuries

Medical advice for Tetanus

  • See a doctor immediately if you develop painful muscle spasms or painful mastication and not able to open mouth after an injury of more than 3 days.
  • See a doctor if you have an open wound, particularly if:
    • You are injured outdoors
    • The wound has been in contact with soil
    • You have not received a tetanus booster (vaccine) within 5 years or you are not sure of your vaccination status

Self Care for Tetanus

  • Tetanus is 100% preventable by immunization.
  • The persons having risk shall take 2 doses of T.T. vaccine with a gap of 6-8 weeks. And booster dose after 1 year, and every 5 year one dose. Free vaccination services are available for preventing tetanus

Treatment for Tetanus

  • Once the Tetanus symptoms develop, it is an emergency which need hospitalization.

Investigations for Tetanus