I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento. When people think about trauma from a car accident, they often think about broken bones, lacerations, and bruises. However, few people don’t realize that contracting a bacteria during an accident is another risk. One bacteria that people could contract is called Clostridium tetani, also known as tetanus. It is essential for everyone to understand that this bacterial infection is preventable with proper vaccination, however, with vaccination rates dropping, medical providers are seeing more tetanus cases in recent years. The tetanus bacteria is found in soil, in dust, and in cow manure, however, it typically infects a person through a cut with a contaminated object. One of the most common objects is a piece of rusty metal, such as a fragment of a car in an auto accident. Some relevant facts to know about tetanus include:
- Tetanus is becoming more common due to a drop in vaccination rates.
- Almost all cases of tetanus occur in adults who have never been vaccinated.
- A tetanus booster is required every ten years. Failure to receive a tetanus booster makes the body vulnerable to infection.
Causes of Traumatic Tetanus
The life cycle of tetanus shifts between spores and mobile bacteria. Tetanus spores live in soil, dust, and manure. The virus starts when the spores enter the body’s bloodstream and evolve into bacteria. Infection typically takes place through injection with a contaminated object. Examples of mechanisms of the disease include:
- Wounds contaminated with infected dirt or manure.
- Traumatic injuries, such as lacerations with nails, needles, or pieces of metal in an auto or motorcycle accident.
- Burn injuries that damage the surface of the skin.
- Crush injuries that release spores from the dirt into the atmosphere.
- Gangrenous infections of bodily tissue.
Rare sources of contamination include open bone fractures, insect bites, and contraction through IV drug use. Once the virus has taken place, there are several symptoms that people should look out for.
Symptoms of a Tetanus Infection
Because tetanus is an uncommon infection, many people are unaware of the signs that this can cause. Some of the symptoms include:
- Lockjaw: This is often the first symptom of tetanus. The muscles of the jaw will contract, making eating and talking uncomfortable.
- Muscle Spasms: The spasms can progress throughout the rest of the body, making moving difficult.
- A headache: The spasms related to muscles in the head will cause a severe headache.
- Trouble swallowing: The movement of the esophageal muscles is impaired. This makes swallowing a challenge.
Possible complications of tetanus include pneumonia, which happens because people have trouble swallowing. Difficulty swallowing could lead to choking, causing food to end up in the lungs instead of the stomach. This pneumonia could place people in a hospital. Difficulty breathing is the most common cause of death due to tetanus. This occurs in about 10 to 20 percent of cases.
Help from a Personal Injury Attorney
If someone has symptoms of tetanus infection, they should seek treatment from a medical professional immediately. After obtaining medical care, meeting with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Sacramento can be helpful. An experienced lawyer understands how traumatic accidents can lead to unusual infections and complications. With this understanding, a complete investigation of the crash can be performed, helping people uncover details that otherwise would have been overlooked.
Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento. If you or someone you love has contracted an unusual infection following a traumatic car accident, call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for friendly, free advice.
I am a trial attorney in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
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