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Monday 17 February 2014

Tetanus, Homeopathic and Conventional Treatment

Tetanus is a serious but rare infection caused by a bacteria called Clostridium tenani, which lives everywhere in the soil, in house dust, and in animal and human wasted, such as manure. NHS Choices says that it usually occurs when a flesh wound becomes contaminated.

Tetanus disrupts the normal workings of the nerves, causing symptoms such as stiffness and muscle spasms, and also difficulty swallowing, muscle stiffness and spasms in the jaw muscles – often referred to as lockjaw.

Conventional Medical Treatment

NHS Choices outlines the conventional treatment for tetanus here. It describes what it calls “tetanus-prone wounds”, which include:

  1. *    wounds or burns that required surgery to repair, but access to surgery was delayed for six hours or more
  2. *    wounds or burns that cause a significant amount of tissue loss
  3. *    puncture injuries, particularly if they may have become contaminated with soil or manure
  4. *    wounds that contain foreign bodies, such as an animal’s tooth
  5. *    severe bone fractures that may have left the bones vulnerable to infection
  6. *    wounds and burns in patients who have systemic sepsis (a fall in blood pressure as a result of a serious bacterial infection)

For these would tetanus immunoglobulin (TIG) is recommended, even if your vaccinations are up to date as “there may be a very small chance that the vaccine did not give you total immunity against tetanus”. TIG contains antibodies that kill the tetanus bacteria, and is given as an injection into a muscle to give immediate, short-term protection against tetanus. This treatment is said to have the following side-effects:

  1. *    Short-term discomfort at the site of the injection
  2. *    chest pain
  3. *    shortness of breath
  4. *    dizziness
  5. *    swelling of your face
  6. *    Mouth ulcers
  7. *    shaking
  8. *    joint pains

This is usually given in combination to a booster DPT vaccine.

NHS Choices says that if someone develops the symptoms of tetanus, they will need to be admitted to hospital, and transferred to one of the larger NHS hospitals, where doctors with experience in treating tetanus are usually based. The three main types of medication used to treat the symptoms of tetanus are:

  1. *   Sedative drugs - to make you feel physically and mentally relaxed, to relax the muscles in order to help relieve and prevent muscle stiffness. The side effects given for these drugs are drowsiness, irritability, depression, shaky movements and an unsteady walk, hyperactivity, and hallucinations.

  1. *   Muscle relaxant drugs - that help relax the muscles, and used when sedative treatment (which can be addictive) is withdrawn.

  1. *   Neuromuscular blocking agents (NBAs). These drugs block nerve signals sent from the brain to the muscles, leading to an inability to move certain muscles (paralysis) “which can be useful in people with severe muscle spasms and stiffness”. The drug prescribed is Vecuronium which causes paralysis of the muscles used for breathing, so assistance with breathing is provided before it can be given.

NHS Choices say that to prevent the further spread of neurotoxins Tetanus immunoglobulin can be used to prevent further damage and disruption to the nervous system. Antibiotics are also used to try to kill any bacteria and prevent any further toxins being released. 

Surgery is also used if a tetanus-prone wound is large. “It may be necessary to remove as much of the damaged and contaminated muscle as possible using a surgical procedure ..... (which) involves cleaning an open wound by removing foreign material, such as dirt and manure, as well as any dead tissue”.

This is quite a frightening description of what can happen with this condition, and the conventional treatment that becomes necessary when it is contracted. With Homeopathic treatment, and the early and accurate selection of a remedy, reaching this stage can be avoided, alongside the known DIEs of conventional treatment.

As normal in the practice of homeopathy, remedies are selected not only to treat tetanus symptoms but also to address its underlying cause, and individual susceptibility to it. In order to individualise the selection of the best remedy, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. However, there are several remedies known to treat tetanus symptoms, and which can be used as soon as necessary, or in any situation where tetanus could have been contracted. The following remedy descriptions have been taken from the Hpathy website:

Ledum  – this is one of the two most important remedy. Tetanus with twitching of muscles near the wound; indicate din punctured wounds produced by sharp pointed instruments.

Nux Vomica – another leading remedy for tetanus. It has tetanic convulsions with opisthotonos, distortion of eyes and face, with dyspnoea excited by any external impression.  Perfect picture of tetanus, with its convulsion of muscles renewed by the slightest external impression, its “risus sardonicus,” its respiratory spasm, with blue cyanosed face.

Hydrocyanicum acid – tetanus produces a persistent spasm from its direct action on the spinal cord; symptoms of lock jaw; frothing at the mouth, with a sudden attack.

Cicuta virosa – useful in tetanic convulsions with sudden rigidity and jerking followed by prostration; the characteristic symptoms are the bending of the head, neck and spine backwards. Intense oppression of breathing, lockjaw and the patient becomes violent with frightful distortions.

Passiflora – suitable for tetanic convulsions in children with neuralgia; it is suitable for curing tetanus in summer.

Physostigma – tetanic spasms with stiffness of the spine and legs; alternate expansion and contraction of the pupils; the sensory nerves are irritable.

Hypericum – injuries to the nerves and also spasms; prevents lockjaw associated with skin affections, eruptions and itching.