Many adults not safe from Tetanus
|Up to 50% of older people are not fully vaccinated for tetanus (lockjaw). Are you safe?
What is tetanus?
Tetanus is a serious, often fatal infection caused by a germ called ‘Clostridium tetani’. It causes painful spasms of the muscles, initially the face and jaw (causing a ‘locked jaw’) and spreading to the chest, back and limbs.
The bacteria live in the soil and enter the body through a skin wound. More than half the cases of tetanus follow a simple gardening injury. 80% of cases occur over the age of 50.
What wounds are at risk?
· Deep penetrating wounds
· Infected wounds
· Dirty wounds containing soil, splinters, dust or horse manure
· Wounds with a lot of skin damage, eg crushing wounds or burns
· A wound with a broken bone
Everyone should receive a starting course of three injections, usually given in childhood at ages two, four and six months. Routine boosters are given at age 4, again at between 15-17 years of age and at age 50.
If you do get an injury, clean and disinfect it quickly to reduce your risk of tetanus. If the wound is tetanus-prone, you will need a booster if it has been more than 5 years since your last dose. Boosters are usually combined with diphtheria and often whooping cough.
Mild discomfort and pain at the injection site are common for two or three days afterwards. Occasionally vaccination causes headache, tiredness, muscle pains, and fever.
Please check at the surgery whether you are up to date.
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.Source: Summer 1998 Edition | Page 2
Email to a friend Printer Friendly Version
Search all articles
Search topics by A-Z
Search by keywords