Tetanus Treatment Measures – Options For Effective Cure

Tetanus, also called lockjaw, is a medical condition usually caused by through a wound that has been infected by the Clostridium tetani bacteria. It attacks the nerves and the muscles of the body. As there are no specific tetanus treatment measures, it is best to employ preventive ones like getting the tetanus vaccine administered and undergoing proper treatment for cuts and wounds that could be prone to tetanus infection.

The management of tetanus can be done with proper supportive care and by using effective antimicrobials, active as well as passive immunization, and managing the autonomic dysfunctions in the body.

tetanus treatment
Cleaning wounds properly is an important part of preventive tetanus treatment.

Specific medications to control the spasms in the muscles are also prescribed to counter a tetanus infection. Tetanus treatment measures can be classified into two groups. They are:

  1. Preventive Treatment

    The prevention of tetanus is better than trying to cure the disease. All minor and major wounds should be cleaned and disinfected in order to prevent the infection by the Clostridium tetani bacteria.

  2. Symptomatic treatment

    Individuals who have already contracted the infection and who are showing signs of the disease can be subjected to the following any of the following treatments.

    1. Medication

      Several different kinds of medication are given in order to manage the symptoms of tetanus. Some of them are:

      • Antitoxins: The most commonly used antitoxin is tetanus immune globulin, which has the capability to neutralize the effect of the toxic chemical released by the bacterial spores. However, it is effective only on the toxins that are not bound to the nerve tissues.
      • Antibiotics: Specific antibiotics are also given to fight against and control the spread of the tetanus infection.
      • Vaccine: If any individual has suffered from the tetanus disease in the past, it does not provide immunity against the bacteria. Only by timely administration of the tetanus vaccine can one prevent the tetanus infection from occurring again.
      • Sedatives: Due to the constant and prolonged muscles spasms experienced by an individual with a tetanus infection, he undergoes a tremendous amount of pain. In order to control the symptoms, high dosages of a sedative are given to keep the individuals unconscious for a long time and protect him from the constant pain.
      • Neuromuscular Blocking Agents (NBAs): These are a specific kind of medication that are given to block the signals sent by the brain to specific muscles. As a result of this, the targeted muscles become paralyzed, which in turn gives the individuals temporary relief from constant muscle contractions and spasms. The most commonly used NBA, Vecuronium, paralyzes the muscles used for breathing. But by using ventilators, breathing can be facilitated in such individuals.

      In order to regulate the involuntary activity of the muscles, such as the heartbeat and breathing, other medication like magnesium sulfate, beta blockers, and morphine are given.

      treatment of tetanus
      NBAs used for the treatment of tetanus may cause breathing difficulties and may require ventilators to facilitate breathing.
    2. Supportive Care

      In individuals who show the symptoms of tetanus, adequate ventilation should be provided to facilitate breathing, since the constant muscle spasms in the chest make breathing very difficult. In many cases, the patient may be placed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in order to avoid any kind of trigger that can result in muscle contractions or spasms. There is also the constant production of saliva, which is combined with secretions from the lungs. This makes it important to take proper precautions to ensure that any kind of secondary infection in the lungs does not occur.

    3. Nutritional Support

      Due to the constant spasms in the muscles, there is a need for high energy in the body. The body of an individual with tetanus needs a large amount of calories, as many as 3500 to 4000 calories per day. As eating in the normal way becomes difficult, food consisting of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, and water is directly delivered into the stomach through a tube or through a dip into the vein.

Preventive tetanus treatment is always recommended. Cleaning all minor and major wounds that could be infected by the tetanus bacteria forms an important part of such treatment.

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