What is Tetanus?
Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by bacteria named Clostridium tetani. It represents as painful muscle spasm or contraction, particularly in the jaw and neck. So it is also called lockjaw. It can also interfere with the ability to breathe, eventually causing death. Although cases of tetanus are low, about 30 cases per year in the United States according to website CDC that is Centers for disease control and prevention.
Symptoms of tetanus
Tetanus symptoms result from a toxin produced by Clostridium tetani bacteria entered into the body and affect the central nervous system. Symptoms usually begin from three days to three weeks or even longer after infection.
Symptoms are as follow:
- Whole Body: fever, headache, High Blood pressure, nervous system dysfunction
- Muscular: Muscle contraction or spasms, cramping, facial and neck muscle spasm or stiffness causing lockjaw or arched back and neck.
- Respiratory: episodes of no breathing or shortness of breathing.
- There are also some common signs and symptoms like abdominal rigidity, difficult swallowing, drooling, fast heart rate, irritability, etc.
Do You Need a Tetanus Shot for every injury?
The bacteria causing tetanus infection are commonly found in soil, saliva, dust, and manure. So when we have an injury that breaks or punctures our skin, these bacteria enter our body through this broken skin. So any injury that breaks the skin like lacerations, puncture wounds caused by needles, animal bites, etc. or cut by surgical procedures or sharp objects which may be contaminated by soil, saliva, dust, and manure requires a tetanus vaccine to prevent tetanus.
Prevention of Tetanus
Tetanus is a preventable disease by vaccination with tetanus toxoid. So let’s discuss another question that at what interval tetanus shot or tetanus vaccine should be given to children and adults. It is mostly recommended that adults should receive a booster shot of the tetanus toxoid vaccine at an interval of every 10 years. But in many places and many times any person with any wound who is uncertain of when he or she was last vaccinated or if he or she had fewer than three-lifetime doses of the vaccine.
In India child is vaccinated with tetanus toxoid with three doses in childhood. There are good efforts by the Indian government that every child is receiving vaccination in combination to prevent diseases like tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), Hepatitis B, and Haemophilus type B at regular intervals.
So the child who received the vaccination regularly in childhood requires the next booster shot of the DTaP vaccine or Tdap vaccine at the age of 10 years and after that when a child enters in adulthood he or she requires a booster dose at every 10 years of interval.
In India the vaccine given in combination as a single injection to prevent diseases like tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, hepatitis B and Haemophilus type B at childhood is scheduled as follow:
- The First 3 doses at intervals of one month starting from at the age of 6 to 8 weeks.
- The fourth dose is given at 18 months of age.
- The fifth dose is given at 5 years of age.
- After this DTaP vaccine or Tdap vaccine is given at the age of 10 years and in adulthood at an interval of 10 years, the tetanus toxoid vaccine should be taken.
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