Prevention and Treatment of Tetanus

This is a continuation of my article on tetanus. Kindly read previous post to understand tetanus and it’s symptoms


Wounds should be thoroughly cleaned to prevent infection. Any cut or wound must be thoroughly cleaned to prevent infection. A tetanus-prone wound should be treated by a medical professional immediately.
A wound likely to develop tetanus is defined as:
A wound or burn that requires surgical intervention that is delayed for over 6 hours
a wound or burn that has a considerable amount of removed tissue
any puncture-type injury that has been in contact with manure or soil
serious fractures where the bone is exposed to infection, such as compound fractures wounds or burns in patients with systemic sepsis
Any patient with a wound listed above should receive tetanus immunoglobulin (TIG) as soon as possible, even if they have been vaccinated. Tetanus immunoglobulin contains antibodies that kill Clostridium tetani. It is injected into a vein and provides immediate short-term protection against tetanus.
TIG is just short-term and does not replace the long-term effects of vaccination. Experts say that TIG injections can be safely administered to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.


If the patient does not receive treatment, the risk of life-threatening complications is higher and mortality rates vary from 40 to 76 per cent.
Complications may include:

  • Fractures: Sometimes, in severe cases, muscle spasms and convulsions may lead to bone fractures.
  • Aspiration pneumonia: If secretions or contents of the stomach are inhaled, a lower respiratory tract infection can develop, leading to pneumonia.
  • Laryngospasm: The voice box goes into a spasm which can last up to a minute and cause breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the patient can suffocate.
  • Tetanic seizures: If the infection spreads to the brain, the person with tetanus can experience fits.
  • Pulmonary embolism: A blood vessel in the lung can become blocked and affect breathing and circulation. The patient will urgently need oxygen therapy and anti-clotting medication.
  • Severe kidney failure (acute renal failure): Severe muscle spasms can result in the destruction of skeletal muscle which can cause a muscle protein to leak into the urine. This can cause severe kidney failure
  • Surgery
  • If the doctor thinks the tetanus prone wound is very large, they may surgically remove as much of the damaged and infected muscle as possible (debridement). Debridement is the act of removing dead or contaminated tissue, or foreign material. In the case of a tetanus-prone wound, the foreign material may be dirt or manure


Vaccination and good wound care are important to help prevent tetanus infection. Doctors can also use medicine to help prevent tetanus in cases where someone is seriously hurt and doesn’t have protection from tetanus vaccines. Also, You can easily prevent tetanus by being vaccinated.

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