- How does the tetanus vaccine work?
- Tetanus vaccine: when and how often?
- Tetanus vaccine: side effects
- Is a tetanus vaccine really useful?
The Tetanus vaccination is the most effective remedy for tetanus (tetanus), a disease that is associated with significant complications and proceeds without treatment. Nevertheless, the benefit of this preventive measure is doubted by some vaccine critics. Here you will find the most important information about "Tetanus vaccine".
ICD codes for this disease: ICD codes are internationally valid medical diagnosis codes. They are found e.g. in doctor's letters or on incapacity certificates. A34A33Z27A35
How does the vaccine work?
When and how often?
Is a vaccination really useful?
How does the tetanus vaccine work?
This is how tetanus develops
Tetanus is caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani caused, more precisely by its poison, The pathogen enters the human body via small or larger wounds and produces two Toxins (Bacterial toxins). One of them, tetanospasmin, is responsible for the typical symptoms of tetanus. The real danger is therefore not the bacteria themselves, but their tetanus venom.
The active tetanus vaccine
This is exactly where the active tetanus vaccine (tetanol) starts. In principle, this is the bacterial poison itself, but in a weakened form. When it is injected into the patient in this condition, its immune system comes into contact with the "light version" of the poison and begins to produce antibodies against it. But because the injected poison is weakened, it does not cause any disease. The tetanus vaccine is therefore not a danger in itself, but provides effective protection against the infectious disease. Should it later come to an actual infection with the dangerous pathogen, the immune system can fall back on the already formed antibodies or quickly produce new ones. The vaccinee is thus immune and can no longer ill.
Vaccinations, in which the body's own formation of antibodies is stimulated, are called active vaccinations. And since no live bacteria are injected with the active tetanus vaccine, one also speaks of a total vaccination.
The passive tetanus vaccine
In contrast to active vaccinations, passive antibodies that are already prepared are injected against the tetanospasmin. These antibodies are derived from human blood and are used when the patient has an open injury but no active vaccination. If you then inject the passive tetanus vaccine (tetagam), this can prevent the symptoms of tetanus or at least significantly reduce it.
Any tetanus vaccination, whether passive or active, is injected into a muscle (intramuscularly), either at the buttocks, upper arm or thighs.
Tetanus vaccine: when and how often?
The Permanent Vaccination Commission (STIKO), An expert in all vaccine issues, strongly recommends active tetanus vaccination for people of all ages, whether infants or old people. In principle, can be vaccinated at any time, except for serious diseases and high fever. Because under these circumstances, the immune system is weakened or already so busy that it may not come to the desired antibody formation against the tetanus poison. However, a mild cold does not constitute a vaccination barrier, as is often mistakenly assumed.
When is the first tetanus vaccine available?
First, there is always the so-called primary immunization. This refers to the first vaccine dose that stimulates the production of antibodies.
Normally, this primary immunization already takes place in infants with other standard vaccinations (diphtheria, polio, whooping cough, etc.) in several steps.
The vaccination dates are usually set at the check-up U3.
If a childhood tetanus vaccine has been missed, it can be made up at any time in adults. It makes sense even to vaccinate even if there is already suspicion of infection with tetanus. This happens then together with a passive vaccination (simultaneous vaccination). If you do not know if you have been vaccinated as a child, a complete primary vaccination is also recommended.
Tetanus: do not forget to refresh!
Although the primary immunization leads to the formation of antibodies, it has to be refreshed at regular intervals. When the first vaccination took place in infancy, the vaccine is refreshed with one injection each of ages 5 to 6 and ages 9 to 17. In order to receive the vaccine protection, adults must be vaccinated every ten years.
Diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus: refresher in the pack
The refresher in the 5th year of life is done in combination with the diphtheria-whooping cough vaccine.The next refresher for teens is called Quadruple vaccination given against tetanus, diphtheria, polio and whooping cough.
For adults, combined tetanus diphtheria vaccination (Td vaccination) to refresh the vaccine protection every ten years best. The should be unique Triple vaccine Tetanus-diphtheria-whooping cough (Tdap vaccine).
To refresh a single vaccine dose is sufficient, even if the last vaccination is more than ten years ago. The vaccine protection is very reliable. Time intervals to other vaccinations do not have to comply.
Tetanus vaccine: side effects
As with many other medicines, it is also available in the tetanus vaccine: Side effects. However, these are rather rare and in most cases harmless. The most common side effects include:
- Temporary complaints in the Gastrointestinal region
- a headache
- Swelling and pain at the injection site
Far less common are allergic reactions such as itchy pustules. In very few cases are extreme allergic symptoms to circulatory shock described. The latter is not specific for the tetanus vaccine, side effects of this kind can occur with any type of vaccine.
Is a tetanus vaccine really useful?
Anyone trying to find out about the benefits of tetanus vaccination on the Internet will also come across negative voices. The arguments are always the same: Allegedly, the vaccine would not be necessary, pure profiteering and even hazardous to health with their dangerous side effects. It is usually stated that tetanus would rarely occur in Germany even without vaccination and could be prevented with purely hygienic measures infections.
It may be true that the higher numbers of tetanus diseases - in African countries, for example - also have to do with local hygiene deficiencies. But the fact is that in Western industrial nations the number of cases of illness has been significantly reduced by a consistent vaccination of the population. The benefit outweighs a risk by the rare and mostly harmless side effects by far. Since the pathogen can occur almost everywhere, one is Tetanus vaccination the only way to effectively protect yourself from infection.
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Vaccinate or not? The fact check
In Germany, it is a perennial favorite - the discussion about the benefits and risks of vaccinations. Few health topics are fought with such passion as those seconds spiked to arm the immune system against the onslaught of potentially life-threatening viruses. But what is really up to the arguments of the vaccination opponents - and what speaks for the immuno-boosters from the laboratory? We have collected the most important points.
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Better immune system?
Unvaccinated children have a better trained immune system, say vaccine opponents. They forget that the vaccines give the immune cells in the body the same alarm signals as pathogenic viruses. They are not infectious. In addition, because the vaccine serums are highly specialized, the immune system of vaccinated children also comes into daily contact with thousands of other pathogens, against which it has to defend its own strength.
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It used to be without it!
Infections with so-called teething troubles do not always go well: lung infections or inflammation of the brain and meninges are a common complication of measles, and young males can become infertile, and by the way, unvaccinated adults are one Special danger for children: So-called Impflücken are often responsible for the fact that epidemics can suddenly spread again.
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In fact, vaccinations also mean stress for the very young infant organism. But some infections - such as measles, whooping cough or Haemophilus influenzae - mean for them a particularly high risk. Early protection may be life-saving. Incidentally, there is no evidence that infants are less tolerable than older children.
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Vaccinations make you sick
Many vaccines consist of attenuated (eg the measles vaccine) or killed viruses. In this way, the immune system is stimulated - the defense reaction often manifests itself in more or less pronounced disease symptoms. The fact that vaccines actually make ill, however, is extremely rare in modern preparations.
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That vaccinations promote the development of allergies seems to be supported even by some studies. But proof of a factual connection is difficult, because many parents of vaccinators by a more critical attitude, such as nutrition issues, at the same time keep other potentially allergenic factors away from their children. On the other hand, in the former GDR, where vaccination was required, very few children suffered from allergies.
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In fact, some vaccines contain formaldehyde, aluminum, mercury or other potentially toxic substances in order to preserve or enhance their effects. However, in extremely low concentrations and below defined toxic limits. Nevertheless, the industry has responded to the discussion and has now developed mercury-free vaccines.
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Antibiotics instead of vaccination?
Many diseases are easier to treat with modern medicines than they were 30 or 40 years ago. However, antibiotics are not effective against viruses - in measles and their counterparts, they can only fight those bacteria that, as so-called opportunists, exploit the weakness of the immune system and cause complications. And in some bacteria, such as the cause of tetanus meningitis or whooping cough, antibiotics hardly.
These laboratory values are important