Tetanus is a serious infectious disease caused by bacteria usually found in the soil.

Symptoms

The symptoms usually appear within 4–5 days. Bacteria in the wound produce a toxin. They include:weakness,stiffness,cramps, difficulty in chewing and swallowing food. This toxin causes:

  • the muscles to stiffen around the jaw, neck, back, chest, abdomen and limbs
  • sometimes, a high temperature and sweating
  • nerve irritation, which leads to severe muscle spasms and difficulty in breathing.

Someone with tetanus will be very sick and need to go to hospital. Children and old people are especially at risk.

How is it spread?

Tetanus bacteria enter the body through wounds such as cuts, grazes and puncture wounds.

Prevention

Keep cuts and grazes covered while working in the garden. Make sure to clean any injury straight away.

Immunisation is the best prevention for tetanus. They are offered as part of childhood immunisations however boosters are also offered to adults.