Tetanus (V)

Your Baby & Toddler - - A-Z Guide -

A bac­te­rial in­fec­tion of an open wound that at­tacks the ner­vous sys­tem and causes “lock jaw”.

The bac­te­ria that causes tetanus (Clostrid­ium tetani) is com­monly found in soil and the ma­nure of an­i­mals such as horses and cows. If this bac­te­ria gets into an open wound, it re­leases a toxin that af­fects the nerves and causes se­vere health prob­lems. It can lead to death if not treated in time.

Tetanus has be­come less com­mon among chil­dren, thanks to an in­crease of vac­ci­na­tions against it.

Symp­toms

Dif­fi­culty in swal­low­ing. Stiff­ness of the jaw. Can be­come se­vere, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult or im­pos­si­ble to open

the mouth (lock jaw).

Painful mus­cle spasms. Can be­come so se­vere that swelling oc­curs or even breath­ing is dif­fi­cult. High tem­per­a­ture. Sweat­ing. Rapid heart­beat.

Treat­ment

It is nec­es­sary to get ur­gent med­i­cal at­ten­tion if you sus­pect tetanus. It can progress quickly and lead to death if not treated in time.

If tetanus is con­firmed, your child will be hos­pi­talised, usu­ally in in­ten­sive care.

If your child is at risk of get­ting tetanus (for ex­am­ple, has played in soil with an open wound), a doc­tor may give her a tetanus im­munoglob­u­lin shot even if she is not dis­play­ing any symp­toms. This in­jec­tion will pro­tect against tetanus.

Al­ways con­sult your doc­tor if your child is in­jured out­doors, her wound has been in con­tact with soil or an­i­mal ma­nure, she has not re­ceived a tetanus vac­cine or a booster within the last five years.

Tetanus vac­ci­na­tions (DTPIPV/HIB and Td) in­cluded in the state vac­ci­na­tion sched­ule.

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