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Last Updated: Nov 06, 2019
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Tetanus - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Tetanus? What are the types of tetanus? What are the first signs of tetanus? What are the causes of tetanus? What happens after bacteria enters any body? How is tetanus transmitted? How is tetanus diagnosed? Treatment and Diganosis : Vaccination for tetanus: What are the ways for the prevention of tetanus? How to prevent tetanus naturally?

What is Tetanus?

Tetanus is also known as lockjaw and it is a serious medical condition which is caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani. This bacteria produces a toxin in the body, which affects the patient’s nervous system and brain, leading to stiffness in the muscles.

If the spores of this bacteria are deposited in a wound, the neurotoxin of the Clostridium tetani bacteria interferes with the nerves that controls the muscular movements.Tetanus is an infection that leads to severe pain, difficulty in breathing and can fatal to the patient’s health.Although there are treatments for curing tetanus, but most of the time they fail to be uniformly effective. So the best way to protect against this deadly disease, is to get vaccinated against tetanus.

The tetanus bacterium spores can survive for a considerable log period of time even outside the body. They can exist anywhere, but are most commonly found in contaminated soil and animal manure.

What are the types of tetanus?

Tetanus is classified into three types:

  • Generalized Tetanus: This most common form occurs in over 80% of cases. The initial symptoms begin with spasms of the jaw muscles i.e. lockjaw. It combines with painful spasms in other muscle groups in the extremities, neck, trunk, and convulsions in severe cases. Complications related to severe spasms, abnormalities in the nervous system and prolonged hospitalization will happen in generalized tetanus.
  • Localized Tetanus: In this unusual form, muscle spasms are found in a particular area nigh to the injury site. It might attack the people with partial immunity and it will be mild.
  • Cephalic Tetanus: This rarest form is associated with the lesions of the face or head and may also be coupled with otitis media. Flaccid cranial nerve palsies result from cephalic tetanus. Lockjaw may also be experienced. Cephalic tetanus can also progress to generalized form as localized tetanus.

What are the first signs of tetanus?

The bacterial toxins cause a serious disease called Tetanus that affects the nervous system. It prompts painful muscle compressions, especially in the jaw and neck muscles. Tetanus can meddle with breathing and even compromise your life. This condition is usually known as Lockjaw. Tetanus symptoms will appear after 10 days of initial infection and patients who had shorter incubation times will have more side effects. Spasms and stiffness are seen as muscle symptoms and the stiffness starts in the chewing muscle.

That’s why it is termed as Lockjaw. Then the muscle spasms slowly spread to the neck and throat that ultimately causes difficulties in swallowing. Patients constantly having muscle spasms in their facial muscles. Some people also have affected muscles in the abdomen and limb. In serious cases, they will go to a retrogressive curve position as the back muscles are amazingly influenced. It happens all the more usually in kids who experience a tetanus disease. Most of the tetanus victims experience fever, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, bloody stools, sweating, and rapid heartbeat.

What are the causes of tetanus?

Tetanus is caused by Clostridium tetani bacterium. The bacterial spores tend to survive for a long period outside the body. This bacterium is most commonly found in contaminated soil, animal manure but at the same time it can virtually exist anywhere. Not long after the section of clostridium tetani, they begin to increase quickly and discharge tetanospasmin, a neurotoxin. At the point when the poisons go into the circulation system, it starts spreading quick in the body and causing tetanus indications.

The neurotoxin meddles with the sign-making a trip from the mind to the nerves in the spinal rope and progressively on the muscles, hence causing firmness and muscle spasms. The bacterium enters into the body through skin cut or puncture wounds. When any cut or wound is completely cleaned, it might lead to a chance of preventing tetanus. Dental infection, insect bites, surgical procedures, intravenous drug use, and injection into the muscle are the very rare ways of contracting tetanus.

What happens after bacteria enters any body?

When this bacterium enters the human body, it starts multiplying at a very fast pace and release a neurotoxin tetanospasmin, which gets into the bloodstream. As this neurotoxin spreads around the body, it cause tetanus symptoms in the affected being.

Once this toxin spreads tetanospasmin starts interfering with the signals traveling from the nerves in the spinal cord and brain, and then also on to the muscles, which causes stiffness and muscle spasm.Clostridium tetani enters the body primarily through skin lesions like puncture wounds and cut in the skin. So thoroughly cleaning up the wound fast, helps in preventing tetanus.

As this disease have become a rare malady nowadays because of the ready availability of tetanus vaccine, so in most of the countries an average doctor may not ever get the chance of seeing a patient with this disease. However, the early a patient is diagnosed with this disease, the more effective the treatment will be. So if you have a muscle spasm and stiffness and had a recent cut on your body, visit a doctor immediately.As tetanus is a very deadly disease, once infected by this illness, it should only be treated by experienced medical professionals.

How is tetanus transmitted?

The tetanus spores can go into the body through broken skin, for the most part through wounds from unclean objects, for example, wounds with dead tissue, burns. Compound fractures, intravenous drug use, surgical procedures, insect bites, dental infections, and injections are the other possible ways of welcoming the bacteria into the body. Heavily contaminated wounds, serious diseases are the other ways for tetanus transmission.

How is tetanus diagnosed?

Your symptoms such as painful spasms, muscle stiffness, and other new or progressing symptoms will be checked in physical examination by the physician. Generally, tetanus cannot be diagnosed through lab tests. However, you may be advised to take meningitis, rabies, tests so as to rule out other infections. Based on your immunization history, your doctor will diagnose the same.

Treatment and Diganosis :

Patients of wounds and burns that need surgical interventions, serious fracture where the bone has got exposed (like in compound factures), burns and wounds on patients with systemic sepsis should receive TIG (tetanus immunoglobulin) at the earliest. Even if they had received tetanus vaccine before, TIG contains antibodies that kills this bacterium and provides short term protection against this fatal disease.

Vaccination for tetanus:

There are four kinds of vaccines are available in modern medicine to protect the people against Tetanus bacterium. Besides tetanus, other diseases will also be prevented.

  • Diphtheria and Tetanus (DT) immunizations
  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) immunizations
  • Tetanus and diphtheria (Td) immunizations
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) immunizations

In general, infants and kids more youthful than seven years of age get DT or DTaP though more seasoned kids and grown-ups get Td and Tdap antibodies.People who are affected by tetanus will have severe breathing trouble, painful muscle spasms that can break the bones. This bacterium can also lead to paralysis. Since there is no cure for tetanus, it is always advisable to get vaccinated to shield from tetanus.

What are the ways for the prevention of tetanus?

Tetanus can be counteracted by immunizations. The tetanus antibody is normally given to the kids as a piece of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DTaP) immunization. This vaccine shields the children against three diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, and throat. As three shots, the DTaP vaccine is administered to the children at the ages of 2 months, 4, 6, 15, 18 months and 4-6 years. A sponsor is for the most part given between the ages of 11-18 years, and another supporter is allowed at regular intervals.

How to prevent tetanus naturally?

Though vaccinations play a major role in preventing tetanus, it has been reported that Vitamin C made dramatic changes and reduced mortality in children between 1-12 years with tetanus. Their lives have been saved by intravenous Vitamin C. About 45% of the tetanus children have been saved from death with the help of the same Vitamin C administration. The role of Vitamin C in tetanus is obvious.

Since open and dirty wounds, cuts, animal bites possess an increased risk of tetanus infection, the same should be cleaned particularly if you are not sure about your tetanus vaccination. Do not trap the unclean wound with a bandage that will increase the risk of infection.

After cleaning the wound, apply antibiotic cream on the affected site. While using the cream, it will not support the bacteria to grow further. Now you cover the cleaned wound with a bandage that would prevent bacterial entry. Try to change the bandage at least once a day when it turns wet because it will greatly help to prevent infections.

Popular Questions & Answers

Hello sir, my kidney transplant done 1.5 years ago know am all right all blood test are normal can I take tetanus vaccine.

MS - General Surgery, FMAS.Laparoscopy
General Surgeon, Gandhinagar
Warm welcome to I have evaluated your query thoroughly. Yes sir can take for sure without problems. Hope this clears your query. Wishing you fine recovery. Welcome for any further assistance at my private URL
3 people found this helpful

Hi my wife is blessed by a beautiful daughter in 14 July 2016 and now she ear Piercing (kaan chedana) I just wanna to ask is she need tetanus injection.

C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha
Ear piercing stud with a gun is done by a doctor and TT is not needed as the bay is will get DPT and other vaccines by 45 days of age. Better to do after the first DPDT injection.
2 people found this helpful

I am 26 year old. I want know about what is the validity of tetanus injection after vaccination. Actually I take vaccination before 24 days. After 24 day have injured by rust iron. Should I take again vaccination? I have 3 times takes vaccination in last 6 months.

MD - Paediatrics, MBBS
Pediatrician, Bangalore
Most studies have shown effectiveness for 10 years in majority of people. Hence Tetanus vaccine is recommended once every 10 years, as long as one has received the primary doses of 4 vaccines in childhood. A severe injury or large wound would warr...
5 people found this helpful

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