When most of us hear the word “tetanus,” we immediately think about shots and rusty nails. While those are some appropriate associations, there is so much more to tetanus than rusty metal and syringes. We also have the tendency to assume that tetanus and the vaccine are only for kids. Unfortunately, neither are true. As it turns out, the serious bacterial infection is worth avoiding for a number of reasons, and not all of them have to do with rust. Interestingly enough, no one (besides those who have received the shot within the recommended window of time) is immune to this highly misunderstood disease. If you’d like to avoid the many painful and even deadly side effects of this condition, it’s important to know the facts. Tetanus may be rare in this day and age, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you if you don’t know what dangers to be on the lookout for.
What Exactly Is Tetanus?
With all this talk about tetanus, we should clarify what exactly it is. According to Medical News Today “Tetanus, also called lockjaw, is a serious infection caused by Clostridium tetani. This bacterium produces a toxin that affects the brain and nervous system, leading to stiffness in the muscles.”
1. It Isn’t Contagious
Tetanus is unique because it isn’t contagious, despite being an infection. According to the CDC, the only way you can get it is if the infected spores themselves come into contact with broken skin.
2. It Can Be Fatal For Certain People
There are a lot of reasons to avoid getting tetanus, but the main one is that there is no cure. The Mayo Clinic explains that treatment for tetanus focuses on managing the symptoms rather than curing the disease. For this reason, certain people, like the elderly and diabetics, are especially vulnerable and a diagnosis can end in death.