Many moons ago, before I became the Apartment Prepper, I had an early Monday morning mishap. I was preparing breakfast for the family, getting ready for work and getting the kids rounded up for school. Yes, I was multi-tasking, something I highly recommend against doing, but that is for another post. The night before, I had gone to a Pampered Chef party (I got some free stuff) and I was going to try out one of my new gadgets: a serrated bread knife. You know where this is going: multitasking and using a knife in a semi-darkened kitchen… a recipe for disaster. I’m here to tell you those knives are indeed very sharp. Instead of slicing the bagel in half, my hand slipped and I sliced across the base of my left thumb.
My husband quickly wrapped the wound and applied pressure until the bleeding lessened somewhat. Not wanting to take the entire family to the hospital, my husband stayed with the little ones and I drove myself with one hand to the emergency room. The ER doc gave my thumb six stitches, and as soon as he was done sewing it up, the first thing he asked me was, “When was your last tetanus shot?” The question took me by surprise, as this was something that I had not even considered. I had to say I had not had one since I was a child. He told me you need one every ten years, so needless to say, I immediately got a tetanus shot. This time I got an immunization card to remind me when I need to get another one.
What is tetanus? Tetanus is a serious and potentially fatal infection caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria that enters the body through cuts, deep puncture wounds, insect bites, burns or possibly any breaks in the skin. The bacteria produces a toxin that affects the nervous system and brain, beginning with stiffness of the muscles and jaw, thus the term “lockjaw.” The stiffness can initially lead to difficulty swallowing, spasms, leading to the more serious complications such as suffocation, heart attack, blood poisoning and death.
Clostridium tetani bacteria spores exist everywhere, especially soil or animal manure. Treatment does exist, but the best protection is to get the vaccine.
Would I get another tetanus shot when the time comes? Yes, I absolutely would get another one. With times being the way they are, you never know what can happen. What if I cut myself or get some kind of wound injury just as a disaster was occurring? I would want to know that being protected from tetanus was one less thing to worry about. I would also hope I could get some antibiotics if I needed it, but again that is for another discussion.
I’m not telling anyone to immediately go out and get a shot, and I am not a doctor. I would encourage you to check your records on when was the last time you had a tetanus shot, and discuss this with your doctor. Decide for yourself. For me, this is one vaccine I believe it’s better to have than not. As with all preps, better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.