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Health Tip: How You Get Tetanus

Bacteria enter the body through an open wound

(HealthDay News) -- Tetanus is a nervous system disorder that leads to severe and painful muscle spasms. It's caused by a bacterium that is commonly found in soil, dust and animal waste.

The bacteria enter the body through an open cut or sore, says the Directors of Health Promotion and Education. Most often it's contracted from a deep puncture wound caused by a sharp object like a knife or a nail.

A tetanus vaccine is commonly given to children, combined with inoculations against diphtheria and pertussis vaccines, in a multi-shot vaccine called DTP.

Another way to prevent tetanus is to thoroughly clean any wound -- especially a deep puncture -- with antiseptic. Discuss any significant wound with your doctor to see if an antibiotic may be needed.

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