The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) is advising residents who are cleaning up from the weekend storms to take precautions against tetanus. The serious disease, causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It is sometimes called "lockjaw" because it can prevent a victim from opening the mouth or swallowing.
Tetanus is caused by exposure to a bacteria that generally enters the body when a person has a deep cut or puncture wound. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination for children and adults to prevent tetanus. Tetanus leads to death in about one in ten cases, and most of the deaths occur in people who are unvaccinated. Residents are advised to check with their doctors to make sure they are protected against tetanus and all other vaccine-preventable diseases.
The bacteria that causes tetanus is often on rusty metal objects. LLCHD recommends wearing puncture resistant shoes and gloves when assessing storm damage and cleaning up. The Health Department also advises that the following people not help with clean-up efforts:
The CDC recommends an immediate post-exposure vaccine for those who have experienced a recent deep and dirty wound (contaminated with rust, dirt, feces, saliva, etc.) and who do not have a record of receiving a tetanus vaccine in the last five years.
LLCHD will provide a tetanus vaccine to Lancaster County residents who have been affected by the recent storms and who do not have a primary care provider. For more information, call 402-441-8065. LLCHD will provide tetanus vaccinations at no charge to the following:
More information on vaccines is available at health.lincoln.ne.gov.