Tetanus is nasty business.
Although very rare – only about 1000 cases per year – tetanus can really cause some major medical concerns. Tetanus is a bacterial disease that can enter your body and bond to nerve endings, something that is irreversible.
The only way to get it out of your system is for new nerves to grow. In the meantime, the muscle spasms brought on by the tetanus bacteria could have you suffering from complications such as:
- Broken bones. Severe muscle spasms may cause the spine and other bones to break or fracture.
- Death. Severe muscle spasms can interfere with your lungs and overall ability to breathe leading to respiratory failure, cardiac arrest and possibly death.
So, now that we’ve properly scared you with the dangers of tetanus, let’s discuss a little bit more about the symptoms and risk factors involved.
Symptoms of Tetanus
Within a week or so after you’ve stepped on that rusty nail or whatever else caused the wound, you may see one or more of the following symptoms begin to happen:
- Muscle spasms and/or stiffness in your jaw (reason tetanus is commonly called “lockjaw”)
- Neck muscle stiffness and/or soreness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Painful body spasms
- Excessive sweating
- Raised blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
Causes of Tetanus
Clostridium tetani, the bacteria that causes tetanus, lives in soil, dust, animal feces. It enters into your body through a wound caused by, among other things, the rusty nail. Soon after, the toxin tetanospasmin is released which interrupts the nerves that control your muscles. Once this happens, it isn’t long before the above symptoms come into play.
Risk Factors for Tetanus
There are several risk factors for tetanus since the bacteria lives in items we’re surrounded with on a daily basis. It only takes the bacteria entering into an injury for the onset of the disorder. Some common risk factors for tetanus include:
- Puncture wounds (splinters, body piercings, tattoos, needles, nails, etc)
- Gunshot wounds
- Crush injuries
- Animal bites
Moral of the Story: Get Scheduled Tetanus Shots
Florida Primary Care Clinics offer tetanus immunization boosters everyday. If you’ve been received a puncture wound, burn or anything other injury that may cause tetanus, get into our clinic right away to get your tetanus shot so you don’t have to worry about all those complications above. Call us, schedule an appointment or stop by one of our Tampa walk-in clinics today.