Tetanus Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Tetanus

What Is Tetanus?

Clostridium bacteria basically dwell in soil, dust, saliva and manure. When a person gets a deep cut on the body, clostridium bacteria enters and causes tetanus. Tetanus is now a rare case in the developed parts of the world due to the tetanus vaccine. In many cases, tetanus could be fatal. Since the disease eventually ’locks’ the jaw, victim finds it difficult to open his mouth and swallow. Moreover, it leads to breathing problems which, in turn, could be life-threatening. Therefore, tetanus vaccine is given to children and adults at strict intervals.

What Are The Symptoms Of Tetanus?

When the clostridium bacteria enter the body, it takes an average of eight days for the symptoms to evolve. The following symptoms could arise:

  • Stiffness and sudden contraction of jaw muscles.
  • Stiffed neck and abdominal muscles.
  • Problem in swallowing.
  • Long lasting, painful spasms in body due to minor events like loud noise and exposure to light.
    Although these are the most common symptoms of tetanus, the following may also evolve:
  • Sweating.
  • Fever.
  • Unnecessarily fast heart rate.
  • High blood pressure.

Tetanus vaccine must be taken even before the symptoms show up. After a deep wound, tetanus is very likely to occur.

What Causes Tetanus?

Since we now know that clostridium bacteria enters the body and causes tetanus, the process is yet to be defined. The clostridium bacteria release tetanospasmin, a strong toxin, which directly damages motor neurons. These neurons are responsible to control the muscles. Therefore, symptoms like stiffness and spasms of muscles evolve.

What Are The Risk Factors Of Tetanus?

The following factors increase the risk of tetanus to occur:

  • Availability of other infective bacteria.
  • Not getting tetanus vaccine at regular intervals i.e. lack of immunization.
  • The area around the injury swells.
  • Injury of tissues.

Wounds that are created through the following tend to result in tetanus:

  • Gunshot wounds.
  • Ear infection.
  • Bites of animals such as dogs.
  • Injuries due to crash.
  • Puncture wounds occurring through nails and body piercings.
  • Burns.

What Are The Complications Of Tetanus?

Tetanus can lead to certain complications as it is not possible to remove tetanospasmin once it affects the nerve endings.

  • Disability; physical permanent disabilities or prolonged brain damage.
  • Bones may break down due to too much of stiffness and spasms.
  • Death.

How Is Tetanus Diagnosed?

Since laboratory tests are leas helpful in diagnosing tetanus, doctors may use:

  • Certain physical exams.
  • Observations of symptoms that arise.
  • History of tetanus vaccine.

Usually, tetanus is easily diagnosed through one or a combination of these methods.

How Is Tetanus Treated?

Complete eradication of tetanus is not possible. However, the following might be used for treatment:

  • Medications like antitoxin to eliminate tetanospasmin that has not yet attacked the nerves, antibiotics, vaccine and other drugs.
  • Cleaning the wound by removing dirt, dead tissues and other objects.
  • Supportive therapies include the use of ventilators as consuming sedatives lead to breathing problems.

Some home remedies like cleaning the wound regularly, leaving unclean wounds open and changing the dressing over the wound to avoid infection can help reduce the effects of tetanus.

How To Prevent Tetanus?

Tetanus can be prevented if immunization is done regularly. Tetanus vaccines for children and booster shots for adults will prevent tetanus.

 

By : Natural Health News


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