TETANUS (LOCK JAW)
A Rare Disease In Immunised Children
Usually, this disease is seen in rural areas where the
umbilical cord is cut with a dirty instrument, or cow-dung is put
on the umbilical cord. But it can happen even if the delivery takes place in a hospital and proper antiseptic measures are
not taken while cutting the umbilical cord.
SYMPTOMS: Difficulty in swallowing and stiffness of the jaw with difficulty in opening the
mouth are present.
This may be followed by convulsions or spasms during which the
child arches the body backwards, becomes blue and may even
PREVENTION: Complete the course of immunisation. Beware of wounds that can be
infected with tetanus germs found in the soil and the stools of animals. Special
care is needed in wounds due to nails, glass, thorns, dirty
blades or needles, rusty wires, in gunshot and stab wounds, and in animal bites.
Newborn babies can also get this disease and can even
die. Tetanus toxoid given to the mother (one or two
injections as per the advice of your doctor) is effective in
preventing the disease. Mothers who are not given these shots during pregnancy are also protected to some
extent if they were immunised in childhood.
TREATMENT: Clean the wound with soap and clean water and check with your doctor if your
child needs a shot of tetanus toxoid. If he is immunised, donít bother with
this for minor household injuries. Even for major injuries, if
the child is due for his booster dose of DPT, give him the same
instead of tetanus toxoid.
9 November, 2014