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Tetanus Vaccine: What You Need To Know

baby tetanus vaccination

Tetanus is a serious bacterial infection that affects the nervous system and causes muscles to tighten the body. Tetanus can interfere with your ability to breathe and can threaten your life too. The spasms begin in the jaw and then spread to the rest of the parts. These spasms usually last a few minutes each time and occur frequently for three to four weeks. Since children’s are the first ones to be protected so the most effective and safe way to protect children from contagious diseases is by vaccination.

The infection often causes muscle contractions in the jaw and neck and it can eventually spread to other parts of the body too. Tetanus is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment in a hospital but it can be prevented through the use of a vaccine. You normally receive tetanus shots in the shoulder muscle.

Vaccines are considered a breakthrough in preventive medicine. Vaccines protect your child’s health by preventing them from contracting severe contagious diseases. The vaccines that your child needs to get as to avoid the diseases are Hepatitis B, rotavirus, Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTaP), Hib Vaccine, Pneumococcal vaccine and polio.

Table Of Contents

Causes Of Tetanus

Symptoms Of Tetanus

When To Give Your Tetanus Shots


baby gets tetanus vaccination

Causes Of Tetanus

1. Animal bite

2. Puncture wounds such as body piercings and tattoos

3. Gunshot wounds

4. Compound fractures

5. Crush injuries

6. Surgical wounds

7. Injection drug use

8. Ear infection

9. Infected foot ulcers

child gets tetanus vaccine

It is caused by a type of bacteria called Clostridium tetani that usually live in soil. The bacteria make a toxin that is harmful to the body. The toxin attached to a nerve around a wound area and travels inside the nerves to the brain or even the spinal cord. Because of this, it interferes with the normal activity of nerves, especially the motor nerves.

The most common of tetanus are as follows:

1. Injuries that involve dead skin such as burns or crush injuries

2. Wounds if not cleaned well

3. Skin punctures such as drug use or tattooing and body piercing

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Symptoms Of Tetanus

1. Stiffness in your jaw muscles

2. Difficulty swallowing

3. The stiffness of your abdominal muscles

4. The stiffness of your neck muscles

5. Fever

6. Sweating

7. Elevated blood pressure

8. Rapid heart rate

There can be other complications too like the broken bones, blockage of a lung artery or even death so precaution is always better than cure. The vaccination provides protection against three diseases that is a throat and respiratory infection, cold and tetanus. It can spread to the muscles of the belly, upper arms and thighs. The symptoms can happen days to months after exposure of the bacteria.

When To Give Your Tetanus Shots

tetanus shot

The vaccine is a series of five shots typically given in the arm or thigh to children at ages:

1. 2 months

2. 4 months

3. 6 months

4. 15 to 18 months

5. 4 to 6 years

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The best way to protect against tetanus is getting the diphtheria-pertussis shot called TDAP. Doctors recommend that all children get that shot. It protects the child from tetanus as well as serious diseases too. It also protects your child from painful muscle stiffness and keep your child away from missing school to lead a healthy life is future too since we all know a healthy childhood days lead to a happier life ahead. The DTAP shot (diphtheria, tetanus and cellular pertussis) is very safe and it is effective in preventing tetanus but it has side effects too. They are:

1. Redness

2. Fever over 105 degrees

3. Vomiting

4. Nonstop crying for 3 hours or more

5. Jerking

These type of side effects happen in about 1 child out of every 4 children who get the shot. The bacteria that cause tetanus are found in soil, dust and manure. They get into the body through acute or sore on the skin. A person can also be infected after a burn or an animal bite. Tetanus does not spread from one person to another. It also prevents your child from diseases like:

1. Chickenpox

2. Diphtheria

3. Flu

4. Hepatitis A

5. Hepatitis B

6. Hib

7. Measles

8. Mumps

9. Polio

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Tetanus can be treated in a hospital usually in the ICU. There, they usually get antibiotics to kill bacteria and tetanus immune globulin to neutralize the toxin already released. They will get medicines to control muscle spasms and may need treatment to support vital body function. It can be prevented by getting vaccinated or getting a shot after an injury that could cause tetanus. Tetanus immunization is part of the DTAP. Kids usually get a series of four doses of TDAP vaccine before. You should call your doctor if you know your child is not fully immunized. Its more than 10 years since someone in your family got a tetanus booster, so it’s better to see your doctor bring immunization to date. If a puncture or other deep wound happens, it’s better to see a doctor ask about post-exposure tetanus prophylaxis and if your child develops lockjaw or muscle spasms particularly after a wound to get medical care right away.

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