When you think about tetanus infection, your mind may immediately go to rusty nails. While stepping on a rusted piece of metal certainly increases your risk of developing a potentially catastrophic tetanus infection, rust and metal are not necessary components.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tetanus infection happens after a particular type of spores enters the human body. These spores are present virtually everywhere in the environment, including soil and dust.
Where can you encounter the spores?
Clostridium tetani spores often settle into the soil. Therefore, if you have a dirty wound, the spores may enter your body and turn into bacteria. In a car accident, though, clostridium tetani spores may work their way into your system through any of the following types of trauma:
- Puncture wounds
- Crush injuries
When should you see a doctor?
You do not want to take a possible tetanus infection lightly. After all, tetanus can lead to serious complications, including life-altering injuries and even death. While it makes a great deal of sense to go to the emergency room for a full evaluation after any car accident, you should go there immediately if you have any of these symptoms:
- Stiff muscles
- Tight jaw
- Fever, sweating or chills
- Swallowing difficulties
How do doctors treat tetanus infection?
Fortunately, if doctors catch your tetanus infection promptly, you are likely to have a decent prognosis. If you have broken skin or any other wound from a car accident, your physician may recommend a tetanus vaccine or booster. In-patient immunoglobin therapy also may be necessary, especially if you have a serious infection.
Ultimately, even though obtaining immediate medical care may seem too expensive, you can probably pursue financial compensation for your accident-related injuries and any associated infections.