If you’re anything like me, you’re not rushing to set up an appointment for a vaccine unless you’re convinced that you really, really need it. After all, who wants to spend time and money to be poked by a scary needle for a shot you don’t know if you even need?! Not me!
See, the thing with tetanus is that there’s no time to wait around until you “need” the vaccine. No cure exists for tetanus, so making an informed decision regarding immunization may mean the difference between life and death.
Here’s a little bit of the science:
Toxins released by the clostridium tetani bacterium cause tetanus. This bacterium is found in the environment and poses a risk to most people. A serious, acute disease, tetanus is fatal in one of every 10 cases according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. The bacteria enter the body through a cut, wound, burn or injury, particularly one that has neither been protected with bandages nor frequently cleaned.
So, you may be wondering if you are anywhere physically near the bacteria known to cause tetanus.
Well, if you’re the outdoorsy type or really just step outside from time to time, you may be at risk. The clostridium tetani bacterium are found throughout our natural environment, often lurking in soil contaminated with animal and human feces, including manure. Rust on nails, contrary to popular belief, cannot cause tetanus by itself. But, a rusted nail on the ground is likely to be dirty and contaminated with soil that may contain tetanus bacteria. Also, unsterilized needles can introduce the bacteria into the body. Frostbite, gangrene and severe body injuries carry a high risk of infection from tetanus. Tetanus cannot be contracted from person to person.
Measures needed to prevent tetanus infection:
- You must keep your tetanus vaccine up to date.
- Boosters should be given every 10 years. Negative reactions are typically redness and minimal swelling around the injection area.
- Contracting tetanus once does not result in immunity to future infection. Prevention is the best course of action if you want to avoid contracting the disease again.
- Clean your wounds.
- Pay close attention to injuries, cleaning them frequently. Be sure to protect wounds with proper bandages. Even when you don’t think you’ve come near to anything that could infect you, always be careful treating open wounds.
To receive your tetanus immunization today, contact ProHealth Medical Care at any of our three locations in Pensacola (850-5493379), Gulf Breeze (850-677-0737), or Milton (850-626-3430). For just $35, you can stay tetanus-free!