As Tetanus or tetanus is an infectious disease that is mainly known for its onset of paralysis. Above all, various bacterial strains are responsible for the wound infection, which can spread over the wound as it progresses.
Infogram on the symptoms of tetanus. Click to enlarge.
As Tetanus, also known as tetanus, is called an infectious disease. Bacteria enter the bloodstream through a soiled wound. A poison then cramps the muscles. This leads to paralysis. There are several types of tetanus. The neonatal tetanus occurs most frequently worldwide. Newborn babies can get sick from it. Those affected of this form can be found predominantly in countries with inadequate medical care.
In Central Europe, generalized tetanus is the most common form of tetanus. After giving birth, mothers may suffer from puerperal tetanus, which occurs when the uterus is infected. Infection of surgical wounds can also lead to tetanus. This is postoperative tetanus.
If the paralysis is limited to only one part of the body, it is a local tetanus. A special form of it is the cephalic tetanus, which is caused by injuries in the head area. 30% of all sick people die from tetanus if it is not treated.
A soiled wound is the number one cause of the Tetanus. A specific bacterium called Clostridium tetani has to enter the body in order to trigger the tetanus infection. This then releases a toxin. If the environment is low in oxygen, the bacterium can reproduce. The bacterium prefers to find this environment in open wounds.
Tetanus pathogens can occur worldwide because they are a natural part of the human body and the environment. By forming spores, the pathogen can protect itself from unfavorable influences from its environment. Its genetic data are then invulnerable, but it can no longer reproduce.
The first symptoms are rather unspecific. They express themselves in a general feeling of illness with headache, tiredness and dizziness. As the process progresses, the muscles begin to hurt and feel unusually stiff. These muscle complaints are particularly noticeable in the face and neck and influence facial expression. That can lead to strange grimaces.
Over time, swallowing disorders and cramping of the masticatory muscles develop. The latter causes a blocked mouth or jaw, the characteristic symptom of the disease. The larynx muscles can also be affected by the spasms, which means that the patient is no longer able to speak. They sweat, their blood pressure rises and there is a certain irritability and restlessness.
Palpitations (tachycardia) are possible. In some cases, a fever and chills occur. In the further course, the muscle cramps spread to the whole body and there are violent cramps in the abdominal and back muscles. These cramps can be so strong that the body adopts a completely different posture and breaks vertebral bones in the process.
The muscles of the organs, such as the bladder or intestines, can also be affected, so that stool and urination are no longer possible. If left untreated, the disease usually leads to death through respiratory paralysis.
The first symptoms of the Tetanus Pain in the head and muscles (muscle pain, dizziness and sweats. Jaw pain and a permanent grin from the cramping of the facial muscles can also be symptoms of the initial stage. The paralysis occurs from the head downwards. The painful spasms of tetanus can occur every minute. You are triggered by stimuli.
After the head, the back and stomach are paralyzed. The limbs follow. If cramps occur in the stomach and back area, these can lead to fractures of the spine. The last stage of paralysis affects the larynx and diaphragm. If the latter becomes cramped, there will be difficulty breathing. The patient can die from lack of air.
The disease is accompanied by a high fever (over 40 degrees Celsius) which, if left untreated, can lead to death. Tetanus toxin, the toxin that triggers tetanus, can be detected in a laboratory, which will help make a definitive diagnosis at the beginning of the disease.
If a tetanus continues untreated, the convulsions spread to other parts of the body. A typical secondary disease is the so-called jaw clamp or trismus, which is usually accompanied by cramping facial and tongue muscles. The spasms eventually spread to the muscles of the arms and legs, the ribs, the larynx and the diaphragm.
The muscles of the long back and abdominal muscles become rigid, as a result of which the affected person can hardly move. A tetanus is usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as high fever, vertebral injuries and breathing difficulties. If the diaphragm is involved, there is an acute risk of suffocation. Tetanus can also affect the autonomic nervous system and cause functional disorders.
Then it comes to palpitations, sweats and circulatory disorders in the arms and legs, which can lead to further complications if there is no or inadequate treatment. Therapy also carries risks. In addition to the usual side effects and interactions that antibiotics, tetanus immunoglobulin and muscle relaxants can cause, secondary infections (during surgical treatment of the wound) and psychological complaints as a result of a long hospital stay can occur.
If the person concerned notices a decrease in his or her well-being, if he or she feels ill or is generally unwell, a doctor's visit is necessary. In the case of tiredness, dizziness and headache, in most cases there is a health disorder that must be diagnosed. Disturbances of the muscle system as well as cramps are an alarm signal of the organism. A doctor should be consulted so that medical tests can be performed to clarify the cause. If the swallowing process can no longer be carried out without symptoms, there is cause for concern.
If the affected person experiences a blockage of the mouth or jaw, the help of a doctor should be sought immediately. If there is an inner restlessness or irritability, a doctor's visit is necessary. Heart rhythm disorders, fever, or chills should also be evaluated and treated. If there are problems with breathing, action must be taken as soon as possible.
In severe cases, the impairments lead to an emergency situation. If an acute change in health develops, an emergency doctor must be alerted. Anyone present must take first aid measures until their arrival. Otherwise there is a risk of premature death. Taking a relieving posture is also to be interpreted as a warning signal. If the person concerned can no longer move as usual due to pain or cramps, he needs medical care.
Is the Tetanus or. tetanus once it has broken out, there is no longer any antidote to the tetanus toxin. The patient is treated only by relieving the symptoms. It is important to isolate the patient from stimuli. The healing is best linked and in a dark, quiet room. The wound through which the pathogen got into the affected person's blood must be cleaned thoroughly. The administration of a vaccine (tetanus vaccination) against tetanus is also important as a preventive measure, as this prevents the toxin from spreading further.
Patients must be medically monitored around the clock. They are given drugs to relax the muscles and antibiotics to strengthen the immune system. Tetanus can be fatal even if the patient is treated. The death rate here is up to 20%.
Tetanus respectively tetanus is best prevented by vaccination. These are usually free of charge from the family doctor. Furthermore, wounds must be kept clean by disinfecting germs and bacteria in order to avoid infection.
It can take up to three months for the physical effects of tetanus to completely subside. Comprehensive aftercare can promote recovery. First of all, recovery and a lot of rest are important, as the body is still very weak at the beginning. Patients should refrain from physical activity and in any case take sick leave.
At the same time, the symptoms must be observed. The skin changes should have subsided after three weeks at the latest. During the follow-up examination, the doctor will check the puncture site and, if necessary, conduct a blood test. If the outcome is positive, the patient can taper off the antibiotics.
The doctor should be consulted again after three months. By this time the symptoms should have completely subsided, as the toxin has been killed by the antibiotics in the meantime. If symptoms persist, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
If you have cramps, circulatory problems or a high fever, which also rises rapidly, you should consult the emergency doctor. If the course is severe, multiple organ failure and ultimately death of the patient occur. In this case, the relatives need aftercare, and they can receive psychological support if necessary.
A tetanus must be clarified promptly by a doctor. Symptoms should be closely monitored and reported to the doctor until the doctor is visited. The doctor must also be informed of the trigger so that the diagnosis can be made quickly. If available, the object that caused the injury can be given to the doctor.
In addition, sufficient rest is recommended in the case of tetanus. Affected people should not exert themselves and protect the affected area. The place where the bacteria penetrated the skin must be disinfected if possible. Sufficient cooling is also recommended. Rest after a tetanus vaccination. Extreme exposure should be avoided to ensure vaccination protection.
What measures are necessary in case of tetanus depends on the symptoms. In any case, a doctor must be consulted immediately. The injury should also be closely monitored. It is important to stop larger bleeding. Tetanus can impair motor skills. Therefore, in addition to alerting the emergency doctor, it must be ensured that the person concerned remains calm and does not get into dangerous situations.