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Tetanus



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What Is Tetanus

Tetanus, which is also known as Lockjaw, is a bacterial disease that attacks the nervous system and causes muscles to tighten and contract.  Tetanus is referred to as Lockjaw because the bacterial infection primarily affects the muscles around the jaw and neck.  If you do contract Tetanus, it can be a medical emergency, but there is a vaccine that can prevent the infection.  About 10-20% of Tetanus infections are fatal, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Signs Of Tetanus

Symptoms of Tetanus may appear a few days or a couple weeks after the bacterium enters your system.  The most common symptoms are pain, stiffness, or muscle contractions around the jaw, neck, abdomen, chest, and back.  Other common Tetanus symptoms can include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fast heart rate
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • High Blood Pressure 
What Causes Tetanus

Tetanus is caused by the Clostridium tetani bacteria.  The bacteria can be found in the spores, which are reproductive bodies produced by certain organs, of dirt, dust, or animal feces.  A person gets infected when the bacteria enters the bloodstream or a deep flesh wound.  The spores travel throughout the body and produce a toxin called tetanospasmin, which is a poison disrupts nerve signals from your spinal chord to your muscles; thus, the intense muscle spasm.  The causes for Tetanus can include:

  • Burns
  • Puncture wounds (either from piercings, tattoos, injection during drug use, or from a rusty metal object)
  • Animal bites
  • Wounds contaminated with dirt, feces, or saliva
  • Dental infections
  • Chronic infections or sores
  • Insect bites

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • If you have a deep wound that may have come in contact with contaminated saliva, dirt, rusted metal, or animal feces, cleaning the wound can be helpful with getting rid of the bacteria.  You can use hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or a saline solution to cleanse the wound of any bacteria that may have entered.  Sometimes it may be necessary to scrub the wound to prevent tissues from getting infected. 
  • Staying properly hydrated can help keep your muscles and bones in tip-top shape.  Since Tetanus symptoms include muscle spasms, drinking lots of water may help keep these contractions infrequent or minor.  The suggested amount of water to drink is 8-10 glasses every day.  You can also use your body weight as a measurement for proper hydration.  If you weigh 150lbs and divide that by 2 to get 75, you should be drinking 75oz of water each day. 
  • It’s important to replenish the body with magnesium-rich foods (avocados, bananas, nuts and seeds, dark leafy greens, black beans, or figs) because magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant.  Nuts are also a great source of magnesium, so eating a handful of raw nuts can help reduce inflammation and stress.  
  • There are jaw exercises that can specifically help patients with Tetanus.  If they are done correctly, it can help prevent future symptoms from happening.  Move your jaw side to side and attempt to open your mouth. Dedicate a certain amount of time to do these exercises every day.  When you hear a clicking sound you should be able to open your mouth all the way.  The exercises can help strengthen the jaw and prevent it from locking in the future. 
  • Nutrition can play a big role in helping to remedy Tetanus.  A well-balanced diet can ensure that your body has all the vitamins it needs.  The best way to ensure that your body is getting the purest essential nutrients is to eat a plant-based diet comprised of many fruits and vegetables.  Processed foods, fried foods, meat, dairy products, sugar, or salty foods can prevent your body from absorbing nutrients, so eliminating them is beneficial to your overall health.  Also, chew your food slowly, as this helps to exercise your jaw muscles. 
  • Maintaining good posture throughout the day can actually help relieve strained muscles.  While your sitting at a desk, standing up, or even walking around, stand up straight and don't slouch.  Also, avoid grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw.  It is also beneficial to sleep on your back if you have Tetanus because sleeping on your stomach can put strain on the jaw and neck muscles. 
  • Applying warm or cold packs to the affected area can help provide relief from tense muscles, in addition to reducing the swelling that is associated with Tetanus.  It is beneficial to alternate from hot to cold. 
  • Not only does seated meditation help relieve stress, but it also can help relieve the tension that is locking your jaw.  When you are in a seated position, focus on relaxing your tongue because the tongue tends to cling to the palate in Tetanus patients.  Do this for a while and you should hopefully see that your upper and lower teeth start to separate. 
  • Topically applying a combination of mustard oil and fresh garlic can be beneficial for those with Tetanus. Mustard oil can help improve circulation while garlic has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce tension. Additionally, garlic has antimicrobial properties that can help fight off the infection.  Boil two cloves of garlic in 1 teaspoon of mustard oil, let it cool, and apply this oil to the jaw two to three times a day. 
Things you should eat
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Dark Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, & chard)
  • Black Beans
  • Figs
  • Raw Almonds
  • Pine or Brazil Nuts
  • Flaxseeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Watermelon Seeds
  • Corn
  • Apples
  • Cucumber
  • Papaya
  • Celery 
  • Bell Peppers
  • Garlic
  • Cashews
  • Kava Kava
  • Chamomile Tea
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