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Uploaded by mumsa1 on May 03, 2012

Tetanus can be a life-threatening infection.

In this article:

What is tetanus?




Effect on your life


How Chemist Online can help

Advice & Support

What is tetanus?
Tetanus is an infection from which everyone should be protected through immunisation injections (as tetanus can be fatal).

With tetanus, a bacterium called the Clostridium tetani affects the nervous system, attacking muscles and causing a range of symptoms to develop.

In the UK, babies are vaccinated against tetanus before they are four months old. More vaccinations are carried out throughout childhood – protecting the individual from tetanus for life.

If you are an adult and are unsure as to whether you are protected from tetanus, arrange an appointment with you GP. They will be able to arrange for you to have a booster injection, if required.

Also, if you are intending to travel abroad, check to see if you need a tetanus booster injection prior to departure.

Symptoms of tetanus include:

A general feeling of tiredness

Jaw muscle spasms


Arching of the back and neck

Muscle stiffness and pain around the neck and shoulder area

Back pain and stiffness

Breathing problems

Difficulty swallowing

Digestion problems


Sore throat

Excessive sweating

Blood pressure abnormalities

Heart palpations and/or irregular heart beat

Urination problems (i.e. an inability to pass urine, despite feeling the need to)

The Clostridium tetani bacterium is found in soil and animal manure. If you cut or graze yourself and the bacteria enters the wound, it then contaminates it. The aforementioned symptoms of tetanus then develop. You can also get tetanus through sustaining a burn or even through an animal bite.

Note: If you think that you (or someone you know) may have become infected with the Clostridium tetani bacterium, do not delay, seek immediate medical attention, even if your wound or graze is only very small.

If you are suffering from the aforementioned symptoms, do not wait for an appointment with your GP to become available – go to the A&E department of your local (or nearest) hospital immediately.

To medical staff, muscle spasms and stiffness are strong indicators of tetanus.

Effect on your life
Many people become infected with tetanus through body-piercings or tattoos where the equipment used has not been properly sterilised.

Tetanus infection is generally treated with antibiotics (once your wound has been thoroughly cleaned in hospital). Also, medication called immunoglobulin will be given to you to fight bacterial toxins. Muscle spasms will be treated with muscle relaxant medicines.

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Uploaded by:   mumsa1

Date:   05/03/2012

Category:   Medicine

Length:   2 pages (491 words)

Views:   2986

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