Most people don't think about tetanus until someone steps on a nail or gets scraped by a piece of rusty metal. Much like rabies, tetanus can seem like a minor infection. In reality, though, tetanus causes severe symptoms; they occur when an individual receives a wound and becomes infected with the Clostridium tetani bacterium - and the results may prove deadly.
Once infected, a progression of seemingly benign tetanus symptoms can take root before a diagnosis and treatment plan are even developed. However, learning the risk factors for the disease and knowing how to recognize its onset can help you survive.
Certain Injuries Can introduce Clostridium Tetani Into Your System
Spores from the Clostridium tetani bacterium cause tetanus, and they generally exist in soil, animal feces and intestines, and even contaminated heroin. The spores typically enter the human body through open wounds.
Sufferers might scrape a foot then step in contaminated dirt, allowing the resilient spores to enter the body. Smaller maladies are occasionally ignored and improperly cleaned, allowing the bacteria to become more threatening.
You May Experience Lockjaw While The Disease Incubates
Lockjaw, also known as trismus, causes spasms in the jaw muscles, forcing the sufferer's mouth to clamp shut. People with this affliction appear to be smiling or grimacing.
The Disease May Make You Irritable
You run the risk of experiencing increased irritability and restlessness when infected with tetanus, tied to the bulbar and paraspinal muscles being affected. Additionally, those with tetanus may struggle to swallow; sufferers can also sweat incessantly and drool.
Hospital Treatment Might Not Save You
If, after contracting tetanus, your muscle spasms occur within five days of the infection, you may have a lower chance of survival. If you survive, it may take several months for a full recovery. Patients often stay in the hospital for extended periods of time.
Professionals will likely tend to the infected wound, administer antibiotics and the tetanus antitoxin, and then treat the symptoms. Medications with anxiolytic and sedative properties can help the muscle spasms.