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 newborn 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 the 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, pinprick, burns, human bites, and animal bites.
- Neonate gets the infection through the cut end of the umbilical cord by the use of a 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 the 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 are conscious and experience the painful spasms later stages he may become unconscious.
Risk Factors of Tetanus
- New borne will have a risk of getting an infection if the mother is un-immunized in the antenatal period
- Agriculture laborers & people working in rural occupations have a 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 years one dose. Free vaccination services are available for preventing tetanus
Treatment for Tetanus
- Once the Tetanus symptoms develop, it is an emergency which needs hospitalization.
Investigations for Tetanus