When was the last time you heard of a friend or coworker complaining of lockjaw (or tetanus)? I, personally, hadn’t heard of any cases before an unvaccinated six-year old boy was admitted to a hospital in the Grey-Bruce area of Ontario, in Canada, last week.
Let’s re-examine the causes, signs and symptoms, and treatment options for this serious bacterial disease…
1. What is Tetanus?
Tetanus, or lockjaw, is a severe bacterial disease that strikes at the nervous system. The disease, which is caused by the tetanus toxin, causes agonizing muscle contractions, mainly in the neck, stomach, and jaw neck muscles.
Lockjaw is as painful as it sounds. The muscle convulsions in the neck, jaw, and stomach can make breathing painful and difficult. While cramping or convulsions in the arms and legs restrict movement. Severe tetanus can cause lack of oxygen and breathing so constricted that cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, and pneumonia can result, leading to death.