What is Tetanus and is it a Danger in Missouri?

What is tetanus?

The bacteria that cause tetanus, Clostridium tetani, are found in soil, dust and animal feces. But animal bites, frostbite, gangrene, crush injuries, burns and non-sterile injections can also cause the bacteria to manifest.  Once bacteria shows itself, it produces a toxin called tetanopsasmin that can cause spasms and stiffness to your extremities.   Ever heard of “lockjaw”?  It’s just as painful as it sounds, and tetanus can be the cause of this painful condition—being unable to move your jaw.

Is tetanus still a danger in Missouri or Kansas today?

The cool breeze of a fall rain rolls across the Missouri River—the perfect time for fishing and listening to the old-timers tell family stories.  The line of the fishing rod tugs and someone shouts, “It’s a keeper!”

Yes, summer wilderness adventures are about to go full throttle, so let’s keep them safe by staying up-to-date with your tetanus shot. It can be the difference between life and death from a rusty fishing hook or any minor injury that becomes a major issue.

How do I develop tetanus?

Not long after exposure, you will develop symptoms.   They may begin with muscle spasms or “lock jaw” then can progress to facial contractions and spasms of the back and sphincter.  You may also experience a rapid heartbeat, sweating, high blood pressure or high fever if you have developed tetanus.

How do I avoid tetanus?

It’s pretty easy.  The first and most important thing to do is to get vaccinated as a child and keep your adult boosters up-to-date (every 5 to 10 years).  Our primary care doctors and pediatricians in St. Louis and Kansas City are accepting patients and can help you to stay well.   Request an appointment today!