Tetanus: Prevention, Symptoms, Treatment and More

Tetanus: Prevention, Symptoms, Treatment and More



hi I'm Joe Alton MD of survival top fifties readers choice website two years running doom and bloom dotnet with over a thousand articles podcasts and videos on medical preparedness together with my wife Amy Alden an advanced registered nurse practitioner we're the authors of the 2017 book excellence award winner in medicine the survival medicine handbook now in its 700 page third edition and the designers of an entire line of medical kits at store doom-and-gloom net most of us have dutifully gone to get a tetanus shot when we stepped on a rusty nail but few have any real concept of what tetanus is and why it is so dangerous so what is tetanus tetanus comes from the Greek word Titano smeeting tight and it's an infection caused by the bacteria Clostridium teton I the bacteria produces spores which are inactive bacteria to be let's say that primarily live in the soil or the feces of animals these spores are capable of living for years and are resistant to extremes in temperature tetanus is pretty rare in the United States with about maybe 30 to 50 reported cases a year worldwide however there are more than 500,000 cases a year mostly seen in developing countries in Africa and Asia that have poor immunization programs citizens of developed countries however can be thrown into third-world status in the aftermath of mega catastrophe therefore we can expect many more cases that could be your responsibility as medic to evaluate entry so what causes tetanus most tetanus infections occur when a person experiences a break in the skin the skin is the most important barrier to infection that you have and any chink in that armor leaves a person open to infection the most common cause is some kind of puncture wounds such as an insect or animal bite a splinter or maybe even that rusty nail by the way you can get it from a nail that's not rusty to puncture wounds are more common to transmit tetanus because the bacteria doesn't like oxygen and deep narrow wounds like puncture wounds give less access to it any injury that compromises a skin however is eligible when a wound becomes contaminated with tetanus spores the spores become activated as a full-fledged bacterium and they reproduce rapidly damage to the victim comes as a result of a strong toxin excreted by this organism known as tetanus spasming this toxin specifically targets nerves that serve muscle tissue and binds to motor nerves causing misfires that lead to involuntary contraction of the affected areas nerve damage could be localized or could infect the entire body you would possibly see the classic symptom of lockjaw where the jaw muscle becomes very tight any muscle group however is susceptible to the contractions if they're affected by the toxin and this includes even the respiratory musculature which can inhibit normal breathing and tetanus then becomes life-threatening the most severe cases seem to occur at extremes of age with newborns and those over 65 most likely to succumb to the disease death rates from general untreated tetanus hover around 25% but much higher in newborns you should be on the lookout for the following early symptoms sore muscles especially near the site of injury weakness irritability difficulty swallowing lockjaw also called trismus facial muscles are often the first affected initial symptoms may not present themselves actually for one to two weeks after the actual injury as the disease progresses you might see things like progressively worsening muscle spasms starting locally and becoming generalized over time involuntary arching of the back sometimes so strong that bones can break or dislocations may occur fever respiratory distress high blood pressure irregular heartbeats oh my gosh just about anything the first thing that the survival medic should understand is that although an infectious disease tetanus is not contagious you can feel confident treating a tetanus victim safely as long as you wear gloves and observe standard clean technique begin by washing your hands and putting on your gloves and wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water using an irrigation syringe and 3% hydrogen peroxide repeatedly flushed this out until you got out all the debris this hopefully will limit the growth of the bacteria there and as a result decreased toxin production you'll want to give antibiotics to kill off the rest of the tetanus bacteria in the system however metronidazole fishes all or flagyl 500 milligrams four times a day or doxycycline bird biotic 100 milligrams twice a day for a week or two weeks are among some of the drugs known to be effective remember the earlier you begin antibiotic therapy the less toxin will be produced IV hydration if you have the ability to administer it is also helpful keep the patient comfortable by putting them in an environment with dim lights and reduce noise late stage tetanus is difficult to treat without modern technology ventilators tetanus antitoxin muscle relaxant sedatives such as valium and flexeril are used to treat severe cases but they're gonna be unlikely to be available to you in a long-term survival situation for this reason it's extraordinarily important for the survival medic to watch anyone who has sustained wound very carefully as medic you have to maintain a detailed medical history from anyone you might be responsible for in times of trouble and that includes immunization histories where possible most people in the US will have gone through a series of immunizations against diphtheria tetanus and whooping cough early in their childhood most tetanus cases do seem to occur people who haven't gotten the vaccine vaccines for tetanus however don't give lifelong protection booster injections are usually given every 10 years or if five years have passed in a person with a fresh wound tetanus vaccine is not without its risks severe complications such as seizures or brain damage occur in less than one in a million cases milder side effects however such as fatigue fever nausea vomiting headache and inflammation at the injection site are much more common the important thing is to know the symptoms and treat the infection as early as possible if not caught early there may be little you can do to treat your patient without all the bells and whistles of modern medicine this is Joe Alden MD that old doctor bones wishing you the best of health in good times or bad thanks for watching hey if you need a solid medical kit for that wilderness hike hunting trip or even long-term survival check out nurse Amy's entire line is stored in bloom net that store Dumon bloom net you'll be glad you did

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21 thoughts on “Tetanus: Prevention, Symptoms, Treatment and More

  1. Sounds dangerous. I want to ask when it's too late to be treated ? If you have spasms and lockjaw can you survive if you are treated correctly ? I am just interested 🙂

  2. I stepped on a rusty nail but it didn't went through, only the tip of the nail but still it bleed, it's been a week but my wound didn't swell. Help me please

  3. If tetanus is a bacteria-borne ailment, how are we able to produce vaccines for it? Aren't vaccines made from weakened or dead viruses?

  4. I came here after stepping a rusty nail, the whole nail didn't went through, only the tip of the nail hit my foot

  5. what if 3 weeks have passed since you stepped on a nail(area is completely healed) with out treatment and area is still sore? will a tetanus shot be a good idea and help of kill bacteria …? last shot was over 30 years ago…thax

  6. Please tell me, my mother aged 65+ she got iron pin hurt but got tetanus after 2/3 days got antibiotics… Now the point area is little blue im afraid help me

  7. My father nearly died from a full symptomatic case of tetanus.
    I was charge nurse when he was admitted; complicated situation, patient needed a room and care and there I was.
    I credit two doctors with his survival, Dr K & Dr G.

  8. So, the Tetanus shots in feedstores intended for livestock is NOT good for humans as a preventative treatment?

  9. Wish you had given a quick reference to the relationship between horse manure & tetanus. I can't seem to get through to people who have horses that just because horses are vegetarians has nothing to do with C. tetani.

  10. Tetanus almost sounds like mosquito west nile. Got bit in south dakota and total take down, entire body was sore, and any movement was sheer muscle and nerve pains. This wasnt child chicken pix, or adult shingles that i also suffered in other times on the body.

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