If you were working around your yard and stepped on an old, rusty nail, you may want to go to a walk-in clinic to get the wound checked out. At this time, you may also want to get a tetanus shot if you have not had one recently. Rusty nails are often full of bacteria known as Clostridium tetani, or tetanus. If the nail you stepped on has this bacteria, and if you have not been vaccinated against tetanus, you could end up with a dangerous health condition.

What Is Tetanus?

Tetanus is bacteria that is found in dirt, animal feces, and dust. The only way for you to contract this bacteria is through a puncture wound, and stepping on a rusty nail is one of the common ways people get this. If the nail you stepped on contains this bacteria, toxins from the bacteria can quickly begin spreading throughout your body.

Stepping on a nail is not the only way you can get tetanus. You can also get it from almost any type of puncture wound, including animal bites and scratches. If you have had a tetanus vaccination within the last 10 years, you will probably have nothing to worry about. If you have not had one within this time period, you should go to the doctor to get one.

What Is A Tetanus Shot?

A tetanus shot is a vaccination that protects your body against this bacteria. It is typically given to children in a series of several shots over the years, but adults should get a tetanus shot once every 10 years. A lot of people fail to do this though, for several reasons. One reason is that a lot of people just don't think to do this. Another reason is that tetanus shots can hurt. They are usually given in the shoulder muscle and can leave your arm sore for several days.

If you don't get a tetanus shot every 10 years, you are opening the door to risks. If you are not sure when you got your last one, a doctor is likely to give you one when treating your puncture wound on your foot. It is better to get an extra tetanus shot when a wound happens, even if it has only been a few years.

One important thing to know is that you have a short time frame to get a tetanus shot after a puncture wound. The incubation period of tetanus is seven to eight days. If you get the shot within this time frame, you will usually be able to stop the bacteria from causing long-term injuries. If you don't, you could end up with medical problems for the rest of your life.

What Medical Problems Does Tetanus Cause?

The medical condition known as tetanus is often referred to as lockjaw, because of the effects the condition causes. When a person has tetanus, he or she may begin to experience muscle spasms. These can take place in the neck, face, stomach, and back and can prevent a person from being able to move his or her jaw.

Tetanus can also cause you to develop a fever, nausea, high blood pressure, and trouble swallowing. The problem with tetanus is that once it sets in, there is no cure. While there are medications that can help control some of the symptoms, this is a condition you will have to live with for the rest of your life.

While contracting tetanus is rare in the U.S., there is always a chance you could get it if you are not properly vaccinated. If you want to make sure your puncture wound doesn't lead to this, visit a walk-in clinic today for treatment.

For more information, contact local walk in clinics.