Thanks to the availability of tetanus vaccinations, this condition isn’t seen too often in hospitals and urgent care centers in the United States. However, it’s important to be aware of the causes and symptoms of tetanus, as it can be fatal if left untreated.
Tetanus typically occurs when spores of the Clostridium tetani bacteria, which can be found in animal feces, dust, and soil, enter the body through a wound in the skin. The bacteria can then grow and produce a neurotoxin that leads to muscle spasms and stiffness, which are the most common symptoms of this disease. Some of the other symptoms include trouble swallowing, sweating, fever, and increased heart rate. While some cases of tetanus are associated with puncture wounds from rusty nails, this infection can be contracted in many ways, such as through insect bites, burns, tooth infections, and surgical wounds. To help protect yourself and your family from this bacterial toxin, remember to get tetanus booster shots every 10 years.