Tetanus, although not very common, has been known as a fatal disease which attacks nervous system. This disease is caused by nerve toxins produced by bacteria called Clostridium tetani. The bacteria, which is idling in their spore before activated is found worldwide, residing in the soil and animal and human excrements. The nerve toxin is produced when this bacteria multiply.
What is the relation between tetanus and wounds?
Tetanus is caused by bacteria with spores found in dirt—the soil, feces, corrosion, etc. tetanus is fatal since inside the body, multiplied Clostridium produces nerve toxin which trigger interaction between the nerve and the stimulated muscles and amplifies signal causing muscles to contract continuously. This leads to spasm and seizures.
Wounds have a big role in spreading tetanus-causing bacteria to the body. In the soil and other environment such as human and animal intestines, Clostridium is idling and tends to be harmless. However, a wound can be an effective entry way which delivers the bacteria into the inner tissues and muscles. Hence, deep wounds and dead tissues may suffer from tetanus infection, which can be life-threatening.
What kind of wounds are prone to tetanus?
Cuts and scrapes on the skin might be an effective entry way for various bacteria, including the one causing tetanus. However, some kinds of wounds might be more prone to this disease compared to some others. Some types of wounds which are often associated to tetanus include:
- Wounds which are caused by dirty objects residing in beneath the soil or dust.
When you are wounded by dirty objects which are laying on the ground or dusty spots, you are likely to transfer idling Clostridium spores into your inner tissues. Inside the body, the spores are activated and multiply, releasing the toxin causing tetanus.
- Wounds caused by dirty objects puncturing the skin, such as rusty nails or needles.
Puncture wounds are likely to cause deep injuries, which may not only damage the surface of the skin, but also its inner tissues. Damaged tissues which eventually dead are preferred site for bacterial multiplication. Nerve toxins will be released afterwards, causing affected neuron and muscles to contract continuously.
- Wounds resulted from burns.
Burn wounds are associated to tetanus, since debris might be left inside the burnt skin areas. Deeper burn wounds are prone to tetanus, since it may damage inner tissues and muscles with large superficial injuries, making bacterial transmission very easy.
- Wounds caused by human or animal bites.
Puncture wounds which are caused by human and animal bites might be prone to tetanus. This kind of wound is associated to the disease since it is highly possible that bacteria is transmitted from the saliva into the wound site at the time of biting. This tetanus association is one of the reasons why a puncture wound caused by animal bites should not be sutured—to prevent trapping harmful bacteria.
- Wounds from dental infection.
Dental infection, although rarely, may contribute to tetanus. This kind of wound is associated with the disease because of transferred Clostridium through the saliva.
What to do to prevent getting tetanus from wounds
As tetanus might be life-threatening when untreated, it is important to take actions in dealing with tetanus-associated wounds. There are some things that can be done to prevent or minimize the possibility of catching tetanus caused by wounds.
- Tetanus immunization which is received during childhood is crucial when dealing with tetanus-prone infection and wounds. However, if you get a dirty wound from objects in the soil or animal bites, for instance, the doctor may give you tetanus booster in order to minimize the possibility. Even though you have a clean wound, if your tetanus shot has not been renewed within the past 10 years, the tetanus booster is recommended.
- A proper and thorough wound care is also essential in preventing tetanus infection. If you are having an open wound, makes sure you keep it as clean as possible. Rinse wounds caused by dirty objects with soap and water gently to eliminate all debris which may transmit bacteria. Afterwards, keep it bandaged and change the bandage regularly in order to promote proper healing and prevent tetanus.