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Tetanus pain in my arm (By Gretchen Ritchey)

July 24, 2014

Ever wonder why your arm hurts after receiving a tetanus shot?
Apparently there is not a definite answer as to what makes my arm hurt.
Sunday, July 20, I stepped on a nail. It had been nearly nine years since my last tetanus shot, so of course, I needed one.
When I was in seventh grade, a classmate passed away from tetanus. Since then, I have always had concerns of tetanus. Something I do not want. Always been told it was a serious disease that affects your nervous system that usually leads to serious pain of lock-jaw, which is what it is commonly known to be called.
There is no cure for tetanus at this time. That’s scary.
Because of tetanus vaccines, the number of cases in the United States are rare. According to the Mayo Clinic there are about 1 million cases reported yearly worldwide.
Since I have all sorts of critters running about in my backyard, I figured getting up-to-date on my vaccine was a good idea.
I was, however, surprised when I called my doctor’s office to make an appointment and they informed me that they did not give those shots in the office. They told me I would need to get that shot from the Health Department.
At the Health Department I asked the nurse if my arm would feel sore the next day like it did the last time. She said, “it shouldn’t.”
She was so very wrong. Yes, my arm has been hurting for a good 24 hours. While I am sure that the pain will go away as my body accepts the vaccine, it can’t happen soon enough for me.
I remember previous tetanus shots making my arm sore but I can’t remember them causing this much pain. But, this year the nurse suggested that I get the Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis) shot because it included a vaccine for whopping cough.
Some of you may wish not to get certain vaccines but for me tetanus is a must. Growing up I was always told that horses carried tetanus, so I was routinely given a vaccine. My doctor told me during my visit that she did not believe it to be true that horses carry it; she said tetanus is in the ground and I should be worried given the amount and variety of critters I have.
I told her that I vaccinate my horses and goats each year for tetanus. She laughed and said, “you vaccinate your goats better then you do yourself.” I guess that is one way to look at it.
Tetanus is caused by a bacteria called Clostridium tetani. A rod-shaped organism that hangs out in the soil that thrives in warm weather and well cultivated soil, according to www.horsetalk.co.nz. If you have horses you’re soil is probably well cultivated from their hooves.
According to www.horsetalk.co.nz tetanus bacteria can be ingested by horses and can be found in a horse’s gut and/or their droppings, but the spores themselves are not toxic to the animal.
According to the Mayo Clinic, when the Clostridium tetani bacteria enters a wound spores release a powerful toxin, called tetanospasmin, which actively impairs your motor neurons, nerves that control your muscles. The most common symptoms of tetanus are spasms and stiffness in your jaw muscles, stiffness of your neck muscles, difficulty swallowing, stiffness of your abdominal muscles, painful body spasms lasting for several minutes, typically triggered by minor occurrences, such as a draft, loud noise, physical touch or light. Some people may also suffer from fever, sweating, elevated blood pressure and rapid heart rate.
For your safety if you have not received a tetanus vaccine within the last 10 years you should consider one, especially if you have had a deep wound.

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