Are you safe from Tetanus?

If you haven't had your vaccine, you might not be.

A PSA created by Emily Stern

What is tetanus?

Tetanus (or lockjaw) is a painful and often fatal disease caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani, which produces a toxin that attacks the brain and nervous system. The toxin causes muscle stiffness, which can lead to severe muscle spasms, serious breathing difficulties, lockjaw, and even death if left untreated. The tetanus bacteria spores are found most commonly in dirt, dust, manure and rust, but are also found almost everywhere. If the spores make their way into an open cut, the neurotoxins interfere with the nerves that control your muscles.

How can I get it? Treat it? Prevent it?

How do I know if I have it?

The symptoms of Tetanus emerge around 10 days after the initial infection enters the body, although it can vary from 4 days to 3 weeks. Typically people with shorter incubation periods tend to get more severe symptoms. The muscles are severely affected- they stiffen, spasm, and become rigid. Lockjaw is usually the first symptom to surface; the muscles in the jaw and neck become stiff and rigid, making it difficult to move the jaw (hence the name lockjaw.) Next, muscle spasms spread to the muscles in the neck and throat, causing dysphagia (difficulty swallowing.) The spasms usually then spread to the facial muscles. Usually, difficulty breathing comes with the muscle stiffness in the neck and chest. Occasionally, the muscles in the abdomen and legs are affected. In severe cases with children, the spine will arch backwards due to tightening of the back muscles.

Other symptoms

Other symptoms of Tetanus include rapid heart rate, fever, sweating, and elevated blood pressure.

If left untreated... (Graphic)

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