This is a condition caused by bacteria usually found in the soil.
What to look for
If you have a cut or wound and any of these
things occur - call your doctor
stiffness of the neck, jaw - lock jaw,
and other muscles
uncontrollable spasms of the jaw and neck
painful, involuntary contraction of other
This bacteria can also live in animal
manure, house dust and the human intestines. If you incur any injury tetanus spores can be
implanted into the skin. Regardless of how small or insignificant the accident or injury
is, tetanus spores can still enter the broken skin.
The bacteria survive in areas with no
oxygen. The bacteria make a toxin which is dangerous. From the wound where the bacteria
entered, the toxin travels via the blood to the spinal cord and the brain. If the toxin
reaches the nervous system, it cannot be controlled by any treatments.
Some people may experience only pain and
tingling at the wound site and some spasms in nearby muscles. Most people however, suffer
stiff jaw and neck muscles, irritability, and difficulty swallowing.
Bacteria enter the body via wounds, create
a deadly toxin which travels to the spinal column and the brain.
If you suspect you may have
tetanus - go immediately to a hospital.
The best method of avoiding this disease is
by being adequately immunised. Also if you are wounded, clean the wound but if you are
worried about contracting tetanus, only us light dressing as the bacteria will die upon
exposure to the oxygen in the air.
You do not automatically get tetanus just
because you stood on a rusty nail for example. It depends on how deep the wound it and
whether you have been immunised recently for the disease, also on how clean the wound is.
Always dress wounds properly - this means
all cuts, abrasions and punctures. If the object which contributed to your wound came from
the ground - dress the wound as best you can and see a doctor immediately. He or she will
advise you further and possibly give you an updated tetanus shot if you havent
already been immunised in the last 5 years.
Make sure you have your whole family
immunised against tetanus and keep records.
When to seek further