You can get wounded almost everywhere. Cuts are the most common wounds in our daily life. There are various objects that may cause cuts on your skin. Working with knives, cutter, and even fine papers might give you injuries. Among various objects that can cause cuts and puncture wounds, a rusty nail might gain the biggest concern. When you incidentally cut your finger with a knife of scissors, for instance, you might only concern about getting possible infection prevention. When you get the wound from scratching your skin onto a rusty nail, on the other hand, you are much worried not only about the possibility of infection, but also the risk of tetanus.
How dangerous is tetanus?
Tetanus is a well-known disease caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani. This bacteria can reside on the soil, manure, dust, or animal feces. The orange powder resulted from metal oxidation called rust is a potential residence for the bacteria spores that can be transferred through its former residences. A rusty nail—and other rusty objects may be full of dirt and germs, and can contain tetani spores. This is the reason why a wound—in the form of cuts, scraps, or puncture caused by a rusty nail should be concerned more, as the bacteria can enter your body through this open wound.
What happens if I get cut by a rusty nail?
Tetanus is deadly. When enters your body via an open wound, such as a cut, the Clostridium tetani endospores get into your blood and head to your central nervous system. In usually three days, they will start producing toxin called tetanospasmin. This toxin is harmful for your health because it attacks your nervous systems. It causes jaw stiffness which will spread to your neck, arms, legs, and your whole body muscles. You will also experience sore throat and swallowing difficulty, because your nervous system is attacked. You will feel severe pains and find some of your body swollen. This tetanus infection is commonly accompanied by high fever and chronic headache. Some painkillers may be needed to relieve the pain, yet you have to be cautious about the possibility of kidney failure and heart attacks as the risks of taking high doses of painkillers. All this danger is there when you are cut by a rusty nail.
What should I do when I get cut by a rusty nail?
When you get wounded by any cause and accident, be sure to treat it immediately. Quick, proper treatment will lessen your risk of getting wound infection. There are different kinds of infection and diseases transferred through open wounds. When getting cut by a rusty nail, you have the risk of getting tetanus infection. This disease is, in fact very rare. However, it is deadly and thus, treating your cut properly is still very important. When you get cut by a rusty nail, there are some procedures you need to do:
- Wash the wound immediately with running water and mild soap. Do not use alcohol or iodine as it might damage the tissues. Stop the bleeding if it occurs by giving sufficient pressure to the surrounding wound. Once it stops, dry your wound with a clean towel.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment and cover your wound with sterile bandage or wound dressing.
- Go to the nearest clinic to get the wound observed. The size of the wound does not necessarily tell you whether you need tetanus booster or not. Since tetanus can be induced by little strike or cut on your skin, it is better to get it checked by the professionals, especially if you haven’t got your tetanus booster within the last five years.
- When given antibiotics, take it regularly without skipping a dose. This is really important in triggering your body to fight the bacteria that may lead to further serious issues.
Accidents do happen and you might get cut by strange, rusty objects. In order to avoid infection, immediately treat your wound with the help of first aid kit. If you are not sure about the last time you had a tetanus shot, you should go to the hospital immediately to get one to put the risk aside.