Tetanus is a serious condition, which has a high mortality rate. Therefore, in case of a wound it is always advisable that you take a tetanus shot in time to prevent any casualty, which may be caused as a result of a tetanus infection. This article provides information about the various facts and side effects of these shots.
Tetanus is a disease of the nervous system that is caused by the secretion of nerve toxin by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. It is a fatal condition. This bacterium can enter the body from a small opening like pin prick. There are other ways from where the bacteria can enter the body like animal scratches, splinters, bug bites, and also from sun burnt skin. However, it is not contagious and cannot be transferred from one person to another person. The bacterium lives in an oxygen-rich environment. The best defense mechanism against this deadly bacteria is a tetanus shot. Although this disease has come under control due to the vaccine that is now available, few people still succumb to this bacteria.
When should Tetanus Vaccination be Started?
Tetanus vaccination is one of the most important and recommended immunizations, which should be initiated in the infancy only. When an infant is vaccinated for the first time, he receives a series of five tetanus shots. The vaccination starts, when the infant is two months and finishes by the time the child becomes 5 years old.
The booster tetanus shot should be taken once every 10 years. If, as an infant you were not vaccinated, you will have to be administered a series of three shots. These shots are given over a period of 7 to 12 months. In case of a wound, apart from a shot for tetanus, your health care professional will also give you another injection called the tetanus immune globulin. This injection works way faster than the standard shot, but if it has been sometime since you have suffered the wound, it will not be of any use.
Children may experience localized pain after receiving these shots. A shot for tetanus is normally considered to be more painful than other vaccines. The duration of the pain is different for everyone. For some people the pain may last up to a few days and for others it may even last for weeks.
The other side effect of this vaccine is a feeling of numbness in the arm where the vaccine was injected. This feeling of numbness starts within minutes of taking the shot. Some people complain of a marble-like hard sensation at the site where the shot was taken. It is often accompanied by pain in the arms, neck, and whole of the back.
Side effects of the tetanus vaccine also include general fatigue and muscle weakness. To relieve a patient of pain, the doctors may prescribe pain killers. The more serious side effects are rashes, hives, or more pronounced muscle weakness.
Still wondering why a tetanus shot is painful? The reason is unclear but most researchers say it has got something to do with the bacteria itself. Maybe the antibodies themselves can be a reason behind the pain.
There are many adults, who have stopped taking the booster shots all together. It has not caused much harm to their general health. However, in case of an injury it is important that you do take a tetanus shot.