Tetanus in Infants and Children

Tetanus in Infants and Children

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Tetanus is an infection of the nervous system caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani, which it's life threatening. It is transmitted if the child comes into contact with an infected surface. Never from one person to another.

For most doctors, the best way to avoid getting tetanus is the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine.

Babies and children can get tetanus when they fall to the ground or come in contact with a surface that contains spores of the bacterium Clostridium tetani.

The time between infection and the first sign of symptoms is usually 7 to 21 days, and the most common way for infection to enter the body is through a puncture wound, cut, sore, or animal bite; that when the spores are introduced, bacteria are released that spread and produce a poison called tetanospasmin. This poison blocks the nerve signals from the spinal cord to the muscles causing severe muscle spasms.

Tetanus usually begins with a headache, jaw cramps, and sudden, involuntary muscle spasms. The spasms can affect the chest, neck, back, and abdominal muscles. And they can even affect the muscles that help you breathe.

Other symptoms may be drooling, excessive sweating, fever, hand or foot spasms, irritability, difficulty swallowing, urination or uncontrollable defecation.

Depending on how long it has been since the infection, the treatment may include antibiotics, drugs to neutralize the poison, muscle relaxants, sedatives and, the most recommended to eliminate any trace: surgery to clean the wound and eliminate the source of the poison.

Having contracted tetanus does not protect against a new infection, so it is very important to receive the full doses of vaccination.

The best way to avoid tetanus is to get all the necessary vaccinations during childhood. The first three during the first year of life (at 2, 4 and 6 months), another between 15 and 18 months and the penultimate at 6 years and the last at 11 or 12 years. There are doctors who recommend one dose every decade once they reach 19 years of age, but it is not required.

It is a safe vaccine and with very few cases of children who have suffered side effects, but if there were, the most common are: redness, inflammation and pain at the site where the vaccination occurred, vomiting and fever.

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Video: My Daughter GETS A TETANUS SHOT. Dr. Paul (February 2023).