Rust doesn't cause tetanus, but stepping on a nail might if you're not immunized. In fact, any damage to the skin, even burns and blisters, allows tetanus-causing bacteria to enter the body. Tetanus is not as common as it once was. Still, tetanus patients have only about a 50-50 chance of recovering.
When necessary, you should get the shot within 48 hours after your injury. Don't downplay the importance of getting an updated tetanus booster after stepping on a nail. This is especially important if your injury occurred outdoors in soil or if you believe the nail was contaminated.
Today, tetanus is uncommon in the United States, with an average of about 30 reported cases each year. Nearly all cases of tetanus are among people who did not get all the recommended tetanus vaccinations.
The onset of tetanus usually begins between three days and three weeks after an injury. Symptoms include muscle pain, muscle spasms, difficulty breathing and difficulty swallowing.
Not exactly. Tetanus is caused by a bacteria called Clostridium tetani, which makes its home in soil, dust, and feces. If you get a puncture wound from something that's been exposed to any one of those elements, regardless of whether there's rust, it's possible to become infected with tetanus.
The incubation period — time from exposure to illness — is usually between 3 and 21 days (average 10 days). However, it may range from one day to several months, depending on the kind of wound. Most cases occur within 14 days.
You need a tetanus shot for a small scratch if your tetanus immunization is not up to date and the injury caused a break in your skin. If your tetanus immunization is not up to date and the injury caused a break in your skin, you need a tetanus shot even if it is a small scratch or scrape.
The most common initial sign is spasms of the muscles of the jaw, or “lockjaw”. Tetanus symptoms include: Jaw cramping. Sudden, involuntary muscle tightening (muscle spasms) – often in the stomach.
If you don't receive proper treatment, the toxin's effect on respiratory muscles can interfere with breathing. If this happens, you may die of suffocation. A tetanus infection may develop after almost any type of skin injury, major or minor. This includes cuts, punctures, crush injuries, burns and animal bites.
Current statistics indicate that mortality in mild and moderate tetanus is approximately 6%; for severe tetanus, it may be as high as 60%. Mortality in the United States resulting from generalized tetanus is 30% overall, 52% in patients older than 60 years, and 13% in patients younger than 60 years.
Seek medical care in the following cases: You've not had a tetanus shot within 10 years. You are unsure of when you last had a tetanus shot. You have a puncture wound, a foreign object in your wound, an animal bite or a deep cut.
You may need a tetanus jab if the injury has broken your skin and your tetanus vaccinations aren't up-to-date. Tetanus is a serious but rare condition that can be fatal if untreated. The bacteria that can cause tetanus can enter your body through a wound or cut in your skin. They're often found in soil and manure.
Tetanus infection can be life-threatening without treatment. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of tetanus infections are fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) .
You must see a doctor in four weeks and again in six months to complete the primary vaccination series. The second important method of preventing tetanus is cleaning out the wound as thoroughly as possible. The wound can be washed with clean water, and soap can be used to clean the area around the wound.
If the injured person hasn't had a tetanus shot in the past five years and the wound is deep or dirty, your doctor may recommend a booster. The injured person should have the booster shot within 48 hours of the injury.
Most people then get boosters about every 10 years. If you have an injury where you think tetanus could be a possibility and haven't had a booster shot within the past 5 years, you should get to the hospital within 24 hours. It's important to know that the size of the wound doesn't matter when it comes to tetanus.
If it is more than 10 years since your last tetanus shot, get one in the next 3 days (72 hours). If you received less than 3 tetanus shots: you have a higher chance of getting tetanus. You should get a tetanus shot in the next 24 hours.
If you decided you want the vaccine, or have not had it in the last 10 years, your MinuteClinic provider can administer it.
If tetanus does develop, seek hospital treatment immediately. This includes wound care, a course of antibiotics, and an injection of tetanus antitoxin. You may receive medications such as chlorpromazine or diazepam to control muscle spasms, or a short-acting barbiturate for sedation.
The risk of death from tetanus is highest among people 65 years old or older. Diabetes, a history of immunosuppression, and intravenous drug use may be risk factors for tetanus. From 2009 through 2017, persons with diabetes was associated with 13% of all reported tetanus cases, and a quarter of all tetanus deaths.
There's no cure for tetanus. A tetanus infection requires emergency and long-term supportive care while the disease runs its course.
The tetanus vaccine doesn't provide lifelong immunity. Protection begins to decrease after about 10 years, which is why doctors advise booster shots every decade. A doctor may recommend children and adults get a booster shot earlier if there's a suspicion they may have been exposed to tetanus-causing spores.
Most people link tetanus with an injury like stepping on a rusty nail. But tetanus is everywhere: in soil, dust and animal waste. You can also get it from insect bites, animal bites, scratches or a tiny crack in the skin.
Today the majority of new cases of tetanus occur in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. As the chart shows, these two regions account for 82% of all tetanus cases globally. Similarly, 77% of all deaths from tetanus, 29,500 lives lost, occur in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.