Tetanus is a serious, but rare condition caused by bacteria getting into a wound.
How you get Tetanus
Tetanus is caused by bacteria called Clostridium Tetani. These bacteria can survive for a long time outside the body, and are commonly found in soil and the manure of animals such as horses and cows.
If they enter the body through a wound, the bacteria can quickly multiply and release a toxin that affects the nerves, causing symptoms such as muscle stiffness and spasms.
The bacteria can cause Tetanus, if they get into the body through:
- cuts and scrapes
- tears or splits in the skin
- animal bites
- body piercings, tattoos and injections
- eye injuries
- injection of contaminated drugs
Signs and symptoms of tetanus
The symptoms of tetanus usually develop within 4 to 21 days after infection. On average, they start after around 10 days.
The main symptoms include:
- stiffness in your jaw muscles (lockjaw) – this can make it difficult to open your mouth
- painful muscle spasms – these can make swallowing and breathing difficult
- a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- a rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
At Summit Urgent Care we offer the following vaccines.
- Tetanus (Td)
- Tetanus Diphtheria (Tdap)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Flu shots
After getting the Tdap vaccine as a preteen or teen, adults need to get a Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years to stay protected. For adults who didn’t get Tdap as a preteen or teen, the easiest thing to do is to get Tdap instead of their next regular Td booster.
Come visit us at Summit Urgent Care immediately if your symptoms persist.