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Tetanus is a Poison Germ

Tetanus is a poison (bacteria) that gets into the bloodstream and affects the muscles especially the jaw causing lockjaw where a person may not be able to open their mouth or swallow. It also affects breathing, causes pain and fever. The infected person should remain on guard for 10 days after treatment. It can be treated with a tetanus shot and antibiotics . Drugs are also available to treat the muscle spasms. People that have been infected with tetanus may suffer with long lasting problems involving memory, thinking, speech and can lead to death.

Persons should get a tetanus shot every 10 years. If a few years went by and you get a puncture wound, another tetanus shot may be in order.

Watch out for the wounded area to be red with a red line starting to run up the skin. You should consult with your doctor ASAP and make sure that your tetanus vaccinations are up to date.

 

The Claim: Stepping on a Rusty Nail Can Cause Tetanus
NY Times ^ | February 22, 2005 | ANAHAD O'CONNOR
 

Posted on 02/22/2005 6:15:55 PM PST by neverdem
 

REALLY?

THE FACTS Any 10-year-old can explain the link between rusty nails and tetanus. But few people realize that the bacteria that cause it are widespread and that the disease has less to do with rust than with the nature of a wound.

Clostridia bacteria, the family of C. tetani, can be found in soil, dust, feces and on the skin. They reproduce only in the absence of oxygen, so any wound deep enough can become a breeding ground.

A rusty nail will do. But the infection can come from many sources - sewing needles, animal bites, gardening tools, splinters. Injuries that create dead skin, like burns and frostbite, can also lead to infection.

The symptoms can be severe. Once the bacteria get underneath the skin, they produce toxins that attack the central nervous system, causing spasms and muscle rigidity all over the body, most frequently in the face. About a quarter of the estimated 50 to 100 Americans who contract the disease each year die.

Although the tetanus vaccine is routinely given to children, its effects wear off after 10 years, and many people fail to get boosters.

THE BOTTOM LINE Any object, rusty or not, that punctures or damages the skin can lead to tetanus.

scitimes@nytimes.com

 

Other Resources
Tetanus Shot for Adults.pdf
Nail in the Foot?

 


 

 

 

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