The other day I was mowing and stepped off the mower right onto a nail. It was old, rusty and dirty just the kind of thing to put me at risk for tetanus. Aside from the actual injury, the dirt on the nail that put me at further risk for tetanus if the dirt has the tetanus bacteria (Clostridium Tetani) in it.
Tdap shot: is an adolescent and adult booster shot for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. The childhood shot is called: DTaP.
Tetanus is an infection of the nervous system that is potentially deadly. The bacteria that causes tetanus lives in the soil and can remain inactive in the soil for may years.
There is effective treatment but it is best to prevent getting it in the first place with immunization.
Most people are inoculated for tetanus as infants and followed up during childhood on a standard schedule. That is great and should be done. Few people have difficulties with the immunization. Tetanus requires a booster every 10 years as adults to maintain protection.
In addition, if you do have tetanus symptoms such as rigid muscles and painful spasms often starting in the jaw and neck, you will be given an injection of immune globulin and a tetanus shot. Do not ignore these symptoms.
It’s always best to keep current on your immunizations.
The nail I stepped on certainly qualified as a significant risk for tetanus. Luckily for me, I was wearing thick soled shoes and with orthotics at the time. It went through the shoe and orthotic but I felt it and stopped before it punctured my skin.
I did not need a booster – woo!
Had I been wearing a lesser shoe, or worse flip flops, it may have turned out differently.
A puncture wound requires flushing and probing to verify that there is no foreign material that has been dragged into the body. It can do a lot more than exposure to tetanus. A puncture wound can cause a deep tissue infection, inclusion cyst, retained foreign body, and damage to nerves, vessels or tendons. All of which hurt and can side-line physical activities or even require surgery.
Never wear flip flops or any shoe that does not grip the heel well when mowing. These type shoes leave you more likely to be off balance and more at risk for injury. Pulling a lawn mower backward and falling is a big deal and happens far too often. It can be extremely damaging as you can imagine, when a lawn mower blade hits a foot. The foot loses, resulting in tissue loss.
Until next time, remember, it shouldn’t hurt to walk!