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Symptoms and Treatment of Tetanus in Children

Symptoms and Treatment of Tetanus in Children


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Tetanus is an acute disease of the central nervous system, secondary to the effect of a toxin generated by a bacterium called Clostridium tetani. Thanks to vaccines, it's about a disease practically eradicated in first world countries, and in those with adequate vaccination coverage. In addition, too many coincidences are necessary for the disease to develop, although unfortunately, it is not impossible.

In case the toxin reaches the nervous tissue, the main symptoms would be the following:

- Painful and generalized muscle contractions, which increase in frequency and intensity in the face of any minimal external stimulus. Among the classic clinical manifestations, the trismus (spasm of the chewing muscles that prevents the opening of the mouth), the opisthotonos position (in which the body is curved back in an inverted C shape, that is, literally like the girl from The Exorcist when she comes down the stairs of her house) and the “sardonic laugh” (contraction of the muscles of the face that imitates laughter).

- These painful contractions may be accompanied by signs of hyperactivity of the sympathetic nervous system. That is, tachycardia, variability in blood pressure, sweating or severe elevation of body temperature.

- Despite these neurological manifestations, the patient's level of alertness usually remains normal, and the child is aware of everything that happens to him.

- Likewise, and despite being an infectious disease, it usually runs without fever.

Tetanus mortality, once symptoms have started, is high despite starting treatment, and ranges between 20% and 70% of cases. When the evolution is satisfactory, after the symptoms persist for about a week, a slow recovery begins during the next months. There are no sequelae, unless the muscle spasms have caused a lack of oxygenation to the brain.

Therefore, and since it is not a joke, we must be aware that vaccination prevents the development of this horrible disease. Whoever writes these lines has never had to face it as a pediatrician, and it is not a matter of luck, it is thanks to vaccines.

In case of developing the disease, the treatment is based mainly on:

- Clean the "tetanigenic" wound, so that the greatest amount of oxygen arrives and prevents the development of the bacteria that produce the toxin.

- Administer antibiotics, to also prevent the proliferation of said bacteria.

- Administer antitoxin, to prevent it from reaching the nervous tissue. The problem is that the toxin that has already reached this tissue cannot be eliminated.

- Quiet and quiet environment to avoid stimuli that trigger muscle contractions.

- Admission to a pediatric intensive care unit, to administer muscle relaxants and blockers, among other life support measures.

Therefore, and if, like me, this short horror novel horrifies you, you will agree with me that the best strategy is prevention, that is, to be vaccinated and consult a pediatrician in case of “tetanigenic” wounds, it is say, deep, serious and dirty or contaminated.

And if among the readers I am lucky enough to find some “anti-vaccines”, do what you want with the rest of the vaccines, but give this to your children, because group immunity, the herd effect, in this case they are not going to protect. And from the wounds ... is anyone safe?

You can read more articles similar to Symptoms and Treatment of Tetanus in Children, in the category of Childhood Illnesses on site.


Video: English What is Tetanus? How to prevent Tetanus. Symptoms. Treatment (June 2022).