Tetanus

Description

Tetanus is a serious bacterial infection. The bacteria exist in soil, manure, and other environmental agents. A person who experiences a puncture wound with a contaminated object can develop the infection, which can affect the whole body. It can be fatal. Tetanus is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment in a hospital. Fortunately, tetanus is preventable through the use of a vaccine. However, this vaccine does not last forever. Tetanus booster shots are needed every 10 years to ensure immunity. Thanks to the tetanus vaccine, cases of tetanus are rare in the United States and other parts of the developed world. But the disease remains a threat to those who aren’t up to date on their vaccinations. It’s more common in developing countries.

In the United States, there are about 30 cases a year. These are mostly people who have not been vaccinated against tetanus or who have not kept up their booster shots every 10 years. Tetanus is a medical emergency. It will need aggressive wound treatment and antibiotics.

Symptoms for Tetanus:

Tetanus symptoms usually emerge about 7 to 10 days after initial infection. However, this can vary from 4 days to about 3 weeks and may, in some cases, may take months. Tetanus affects the nerves that control your muscles, which can lead to difficulty swallowing. You may also experience spasms and stiffness in various muscles, especially those in your jaw, abdomen, chest, back and neck. In general, the further the injury site is from the longer the incubation period. Patients with shorter incubation times tend to have more severe symptoms, Painful body spasms lasting for several minutes, typically triggered by minor occurrences, such as a draft, loud noise, physical touch or light, Spasms and stiffness in your jaw muscles (trismus), Stiffness of your neck muscles, Difficulty swallowing and Stiffness of your abdominal muscles.

Muscle symptoms include spasms and stiffness. Stiffness usually starts with the chewing muscles, hence the name lockjaw. Muscle spasms then spread to the neck and throat, causing difficulties with swallowing. Patients often have spasms in their facial muscles. Breathing difficulties may result from neck and chest muscle stiffness. In some people, abdominal and limb muscles are also affected fast heart rate, fever, sweating, high blood pressure, Bloody stools, diarrhea, sore throat, sweating rapid heartbeat and sensitivity to touch.

Symptoms typically appear within 14days of initial infection. Infections that occur faster after exposure are typically more severe and have a worse prognosis. In severe cases, the spine will arch backward as the back muscles become affected. This is more common when children experience a tetanus infection.

Causes for Tetanus:

Tetanus is an infection caused by a bacterium called Clostridium tetani. Spores of tetanus bacteria are everywhere in the environment, including soil, dust and manure. The spores develop into bacteria when they enter the body. Tetanus bacteria can also infect the body through breaks in the skin caused by:

  • Clean superficial wounds (when only the topmost layer of skin is scraped off)
  • Surgical procedures
  • Insect bites
  • Dental infections
  • Compound fractures (a break in the bone where it is exposed)
  • Intravenous drug use
  • injections into the muscle
  • dental infections
  • Chronic sores and infections
  • Intramuscular injections (shots given in a muscle)
  • Wounds contaminated with dirt, poop (feces), or spit (saliva)
  • superficial wounds
  • Insect bites
  • Wounds caused by an object puncturing the skin (puncture wounds), like a nail or needle
  • Burns
  • Crush injuries
  • Injuries with dead tissue

Diagnosis and Treatment

There’s no cure for tetanus. Treatment focuses on managing complications until the effects of the tetanus toxin resolve. The earlier a patient is diagnosed with tetanus, the more effective the treatment will be. A patient with muscle spasms and stiffness who has recently had a wound or cut is usually diagnosed quickly. Any cut or wound must be thoroughly cleaned to prevent infection. A tetanus-prone wound should be treated by a medical professional immediately.

A wound likely to develop tetanus is defined as:

  • A wound or burn that requires surgical intervention that is delayed for over 6 hours.
  • Your doctor may give you a tetanus antitoxin, such as tetanus immune globulin. However, the antitoxin can neutralize only toxin that hasn’t yet bonded to nerve tissue.
  • A wound or burn that has a considerable amount of removed tissue.
  • Any puncture-type injury that has been in contact with manure or soil.
  •  All people with tetanus should receive the tetanus vaccine as soon as they’re diagnosed with the condition.
  • Serious fractures where the bone is exposed to infection, such as compound fractures.
  • Wounds or burns in patients with systemic sepsis.
  • Other medications, such as magnesium sulfate and certain beta blockers, might be used to regulate involuntary muscle activity, such as your heartbeat and breathing. Morphine might be used for this purpose as well as sedation.

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