A word about Tetnus

I have received some comments about tetanus and getting your shots, since I put up my post on the felted face and mentioned I need to get my shot before doing any more needle felting. I felt it would be good to put a note for everyone, since folks may not know how serious tetanus is.

First of all - I am not a doctor. I just did some research and here's some things I found and learned. (I have to say that, because we live in a litigious society.)

I do want people to craft safely.

So here are some things to know about tetanus:

This picture of clostridium tetani is from the http://www.tetnus.org/ website.

Here are two websites with info about tetanus:



Tetanus is a really bad germ that loves to reproduce in deep puncture wounds. The needles used in felting (and any other kind of craft needles) are non-sterile. Tetanus germs are very likely to be found in animal fibers.

Tetanus is found everywhere, and it is not just from rusty nails.

As long as it is in the air, Tetanus is dormant. Once it gets anaerobic conditions (no oxygen) such as inside a puncture wound, the germ can thrive. Anything sharp or poky (needles, nails, toothpicks...) can make deep puncture wounds. Even a bad cut can provide the right conditions for tetanus to reproduce.

Lock jaw is the common name for the condition, and it is often fatal. Even when it is not fatal it is very serious and dangerous. The only way to prevent tetanus is to keep your shots up to date, or get your shot as soon as your are hurt.

I had come across several warnings when I was researching needle felting, and asked my husband about it (He is an emergency doc.). He assured me it was very important to get my tetanus shot, not only because the sharp needle and wool were a good way to get hurt and introduce the germ, but also because it was overdue.

I got my shot, and two days later started my next project - a sheep. I was part way through, when the needle was knocked from the foam I had lightly poked it in. I made the mistake of trying to catch it (out of reflex), and unfortunately I succeeded. Even though I was being careful at the time I ended up with a very deep puncture wound. The needle went a half inch into the base of my hand, below the thumb. It swelled and hurt for three days, before finally getting back to where I could use the hand without a lot of discomfort.

If I hadn't had my shot, I would have had to make a trip to the emergency room then. As it was, I still had to keep it on ice the first day or so, and keep it elevated as well. Those needles are very sharp - So please be safe!!!!!

Lessons learned:

1. if the needle falls - let it!

2. updated shots ( 20.00 dollars) are way cheaper than a visit to the emergency room (100 plus dollars) and less stressful.

3. It also beats the #$*% out of lock jaw!!

So the short version is -- Definitely get the tetanus shot - I thought a needle stick would never happen to me and I got stuck on my second try. If it hadn't been for my husband telling me to get the shot, it could have been a lot worse.

1 comment:

Gertieanne said...

I got mine about a year ago, cat bite.

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