Don’t ignore minor wounds

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PT editorial cartoon, January 2, 2015

For the New Year’s Eve Revelers who learned the hard way, this is for you:

Do not take for granted small wounds or scratch you incurred from an accidental firecracker and fireworks explosion. Innocent looking wounds can cause tetanus infection.

Clostridium tetani, is an acute bacterial disease causing rigidity and spasms of the voluntary muscles can easily enter the body even through a small scratch on the skin.

The bacteria is usually present in soil that has not been exposed to sunlight and in manures of horse, cow and carabao.

Presence of said bacteria is found in patients with firecracker or fireworks-related wound or injuries.

Previous studies revealed that horse manure is being used as expander by fireworks and firecracker manufacturer.

The incubation period of tetanus could be as short as one day to usually five to 21 days. But there is the so-called delayed setting of infection. These are wound that were not treated and have already healed.

Tetanus infection is often fatal. About 95 to 99 percent of the patients died from its complications. But recovery rate is also high if the infection is treated immediately.

Patients are given anti-tetanus immunoglobulin and tetanus toxoid vaccines as treatment.

Take note of the following signs and symptoms if you do have these innocent looking wounds.

Stiffness of the jaw muscles
Severe muscle spasms
Difficulty in breathing and swallowing.

If you worry that you might have the infection, seek medical help immediately. Do not self-medicate.

Source of information: phone interview with Dr. Franklin Diza, of the DOH. 
Inage credit: courierpostonline.com

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