The tetanus rod is found almost everywhere: in the ground, street dust, human and animal feces. For years, it can live and prosper in the external environment in the form of a dispute, waiting for favorable conditions. Such disputes have a remarkable vitality.
They are not affected by antiseptics, disinfectants, and can even live for several hours at a temperature of 90 ° C. Spores germinate in an anaerobic humid environment (where there is no access of oxygen) at a temperature of 37 ° C. The tetanus bacillus enters the human body through damaged skin (scratches, wounds), mucous membranes.
You can become infected with tetanus, for example, when you burn, frostbite, an insect or animal bite, a cut, a fall with a violation of the skin (bloody abrasions), etc.
No infection is transmitted from person to person, immunity to tetanus is not developed after recovery.
The incubation period is up to several weeks. Moreover, the shorter it is, the harder the disease proceeds, and the higher the risk of the most tragic outcome. At first, the wound, even if it has healed, begins to ache.
The person feels dull pulling pain, then headaches begin, muscles tighten and twitch. Distinguishing symptom: the chewing muscles convulsively tighten, the mouth is almost impossible to open or unclench, the forehead wrinkles, the lips involuntarily stretch into a convulsive smile. Since the spasm affects the muscles of the pharynx, a person cannot swallow.
Cramps affect the muscles of the limbs and body. At the same time during sleep voltage does not weaken.
On the 3-4th day breathing, urination and defecation are disturbed.
In the most severe cases, cramps reduce the back muscles, the head is thrown back, the body arches, relying only on the back of the head and heels.
The most dangerous for a person is 7-14 days of illness. It is during this period that most deaths are reported due to toxin poisoning of tetanus sticks.
And although with the invention of antibiotics, the mortality from tetanus has decreased markedly, it is better not to risk the life and health of the child.
The body is restored after tetanus very slowly, it takes several months for rehabilitation.
The most reliable protection against tetanus is a prophylactic vaccination. In the Russian national calendar, vaccinations are performed at the same time as vaccination against pertussis and diphtheria with a combination vaccine.
As an emergency prophylaxis with deep wounds of soft tissues, a tetanus injection is given.
The first time a tetanus vaccination is done in 3 months, then it is repeated for 4.5 and 6 months. Revaccination is recommended at 18 months and 6 years. The third revaccination is recommended at 14 years.
Vaccination does not give lifelong immunity, so it should be repeated every 10 years since the last revaccination. This calendar is recommended by the World Health Organization and adopted in our country.
Vaccination is carried out with the same vaccines as against pertussis and diphtheria. These are DTP vaccine, ADS-toxoid, ADS-M anatoxin, DT Vaks, Imovaks DT Adyult, Tetrakok 05, Infanrix, Bubo-M, Pentaxim. Read more about these vaccines in the article on diphtheria.
The combined vaccine is usually administered to infants in the thigh, older children in the upper third of the shoulder. Redness and slight swelling are possible at the injection site.
In addition, like any other vaccine, tetanus can cause fever, an allergic reaction, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In very rare cases – anaphylactic shock, asthma attack, tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmia.
That is why it is so important to inform the doctor about all the warning signs and symptoms of allergies.
Contraindications to vaccination are: allergy to many drugs, an allergic reaction to previous vaccinations, exacerbation of a chronic disease or an infectious disease, pregnancy. At the same time, it should be understood that in small allergy sufferers and weakened babies the likelihood that tetanus will be difficult is higher. In any case, each time the decision on vaccination is made individually.
Post-vaccination immunity usually lasts no more than 10 years.