Tetanus is a disease that’ gets into the body through a wound. It is the result of a bacterial infection in the wounds. When there is a puncture, a cut, burn, or scrape that is capable of tearing or breaking the mucous membrane or the skin, this is called a wound. This is the most likely entry point of tetanus.
The bacteria that causes tetanus can produce a poison or toxin which induces seizures and muscle spasms. Tetanus can also affect the jaw by inducing muscle spasms which cause difficulty in moving the jaw. This prevents the mouth from opening and is also called “lockjaw”.
By hindering breathing and swallowing, tetanus may also result in death.
The main method of preventing tetanus infections in the body is by taking a tetanus shot to prevent it.
Tetanus shot for prevention
To protect yourself from tetanus, you will need to take immunization against tetanus in the form of tetanus shots. Tetanus shots come in three different forms for different ages. To ensure your protection, you should take all the tetanus shots and have your kids take them.
- Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine: This tetanus vaccine is known as the primary vaccination series. It is called a series because it includes five vaccine shots which are given between 2 months old to 6 years old. The shots always start at 2 months old but may end at either 4 or 6 years old.
- Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine: this tetanus vaccine is given to protect against whooping cough. It is given at age 11 or 12 and is also given to adults or teenagers who missed the shot. It is also given to women who are nursing a pregnancy. It is known as a booster shot and is the first of the booster shots given to anyone.
- Tetanus and diphtheria vaccine: this is given to people at intervals of 10 years and is a booster shot.
Reaction to shots
In some cases, people may react to a tetanus shot. This is usually indicated by any or all of the following
- Swelling at the site
- Redness at the site of the shot
Treating the reactions from the shots are quite straightforward.
- Use an ice pack around the area of swelling
- Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug should be considered after consulting your doctor.
When do you need to take a tetanus shot?
For a wound to occur, there must be a cut or break in the skin. Any object which is capable of cutting or breaking the skin may be clean, or it may be dirty.
If your last tetanus shot was over ten years ago, you need to get a tetanus shot. It doesn’t matter if the object was clean or dirty in this case.
In the case of dirty objects, if your last tetanus shot was more than five years ago, you should get a tetanus shot.
Also if you cannot recollect completing the primary vaccination series, it is advisable to get a tetanus shot for your wound.
A tetanus immunoglobulin (IG) may also be necessary in some cases. Always contact your doctor in case of any emergency.