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 Really Dumb Medical Question...?

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Phoebe
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:11 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

But how fatal is Tetanus these days? In the West?

I stepped on a rusty nail in the garden about 8 days ago. It was filthy and rusty and it went right through my foot.

I called my doctor and the receptionist said that it was nothing to worry about because all my tetanus shots were up to date.

Anyway, I mentioned it to my mum and she said I hadn't had a tetanus shot since 1995.

So I called the surgery back and they said she was right, that the receptionist had made a mistake with my records.

They called me in this afternoon for a tetanus shot, but just as I was leaving they said that it was too late for this tetanus shot to protect me and that I should just call them back if I started to feel unwell... Shocked

Incidentally - do not, whatever you do, run an image search for 'tetanus' on google. *cries* Rolling Eyes
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Ariyeo
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:22 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If you have it, it causes muscle tension, and the treatment is muscle relaxants (they give you these in a hospital) the most dangerous symptom is lock-jaw, and as long as you stay hydrated, you should have plenty of time to get treatment. It can be uncomfortable, but not too dangerous.

It can incubate for up to 3 weeks, but you should feel tightening around the area of injury well in advance, so if not by the end of the week, don't worry about it.

1995 is not a long time ago to have had a shot really, they tend to say every 10 years, so you weren’t far out, as long as you have had one you have some resistance, they top it up, and after your 3rd shot, you shouldn't need another one.

EDIT:

C/o BBC Health (http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/conditions/tetanus2.shtml)

Quote:
What are the symptoms?

The incubation period varies from a few days to a few weeks. Then there's general tiredness or weakness followed by spasm of the jaw muscles (called lockjaw). Spasm of the muscles of the face can make the person appear to have a fixed grin. Spasms may occur spontaneously or be triggered by stimulation, such as noise or light.

Other symptoms include:

problems with swallowing or breathing
arching of the back and neck
inability to pass urine
sweating
abnormal heart rate and blood pressure
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Phoebe
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:53 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Ariyeo wrote:
you should feel tightening around the area of injury well in advance,


Thanks. That's actually quite reassuring. Though I've been twitching a bit since I did a Google image search on Tetanus *shudders*.

I actually worked as a forensic microbiologist for 7 years but I specialised in enteric medicine and the only clostridium that I'm really familiar with is botuli.

I can't recall ever dealing with a single case of tetanus.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:57 am Reply with quoteBack to top

trust me... the WORST thing you can do is read online about *possible* things when you think you have something like that... you will get more scared than anything!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:15 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Not that you need more to worry about (sorry about your misfortune). I would be more concerned about infection due to the wound. (DO NOT google infection images.) Confused

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:27 am Reply with quoteBack to top

ParaNoid wrote:
(DO NOT google infection images.) Confused


Don't get me started on the STD ones. The military shows them to the young soldiers every time they arrive at a new duty station to discourage them from populating like rabbits and not to mention sex-ed class.

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Last edited by Ex. on Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:10 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I recently had an injury and was concerned about tetanus. The medical facilty I went to told me to keep putting a moist heat pad on ....it worked. Redness and swelling were gone within 24 hours. I'm not sure if it will help you, but it's worth a try. Keep it clean!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:25 am Reply with quoteBack to top

@Daisy, OUCH! Sad

Keep it clean, keep it dry, and keep it covered. Do not walk through puddles while it is still unhealed. And if it doesn't heal in a reasonable time, go to a wound care center.

If you take proper care of it, you should be OK. We're all thinking good thoughts about you. Smile

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:40 am Reply with quoteBack to top

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betadine

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Phoebe
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:56 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks. It doesn't hurt much now, but my arm (where I had the tetanus shot) is killing me! Confused

My son had his vaccination shot at the same time and I was more worried about him to be honest! I hate taking him for an injection, he cried and looked at me as if I was mean for letting the naughty nurse stick a needle in him! Crying or Very sad

He was okay within 5 minutes, but I'm not! I know I have to take him back next month for another one! Crying or Very sad

lol, the nurse said 'how can you be scared of injections when you have a tattoo?' (I have my Karate system tattooed on my upper arm in Japanese characters) Laughing
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Nancelot
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:23 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

You're probably okay, but it's nothing to joke around with. Prompt treatment if you do feel tension is a must because the pain can be fantastic, from what I've heard. People who get treatment don't usually get to the stage where their muscles actually break/fracture their spines, but that gives you some idea of the strength of the poison involved.
But do keep an eye out for infection - there are other nasty things in the ground that can go into wounds. (Whatever you do, don't google image gas gangrene.) Crying or Very sad
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:38 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^ I didn't have to google it. Crying or Very sad

It's why I now use wheel-power instead of foot-power. That's why I said never walk through a puddle with an unhealed wound on your foot.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:23 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I had my tetanus shot last year and it was fine at first, but sore for a few days after.

Remember though, just because the nail was rusty, doesn't mean it had the virus/bacteria on it. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:41 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Great I had to go check out the gas gangrene images of google. puke

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:32 am Reply with quoteBack to top

A freind of mine is an Consultant in Intensive Care.

He said he had never seen a case.

However he has heard of one from a colleague of his.

This is a dr. in australia

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