Outdoor life pathologies - First Aid


First aid

First aid

Outdoor life pathologies

Tetanus Animal bites Freezing and freezing Mountain sickness Poisoning and accidental poisoning Carbon monoxide poisoning Accidental needle punctures and the like: what are the risks? What to do? What not to do? Red eye Car sickness and seasickness (motion sickness)
  • Tetanus
    • Tetanus: 5 things to know to prevent it
  • Animal bites
  • Freezing and freezing
  • Mountain sickness
  • Accidental poisoning and poisoning
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Accidental needle sticks and the like: what are the risks? What to do? What not to do?
  • Red eye
  • Car sickness and seasickness (motion sickness)


A serious disease characterized by generalized muscle spasms, tetanus is caused by the action of a toxin (tetanus toxin) produced by Clostridium tetani, a bacterium that lives in the soil and intestines of animals.

In most cases, tetanus appears in fact following a penetrating lesion (for example, a wound or a laceration of the skin) during domestic activities or carried out outdoors. More rarely the disease appears following burns, animal bites, subcutaneous injection of drugs, surgical procedures and so on. The forms that arise after childbirth (in the mother and / or the newborn) are more frequent in developing countries and are favored by the use of rudimentary or non-sterilized obstetric instruments.

The tetanus toxin produced by clostridium reaches the terminal parts of the peripheral nerves, at which level it blocks the release of some substances (neurotransmitters) which normally inhibit the transmission of nerve impulses. Consequently, since the nerve transmission is "less inhibited", the frequency of the nervous discharge at rest increases, with an increase in muscle tone. In turn, the increase in muscle tone is responsible for the stiffness of the muscles, which is sometimes associated with the appearance of violent contractions (spasms). In generalized tetanus, which is the most frequent form of the disease, the toxin acts not only on the nerves located near the wound, but also on other muscle areas. This is possible thanks to the fact that the toxin enters the blood vessels and, through the blood, is transported to other districts.

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Tetanus: 5 things to know to prevent it

Who is at greater risk of tetanusTetanus can arise following even trivial injuries, therefore the risk of contracting the disease is greater in those who are not vaccinated, that is, who have not completed the basic vaccination cycle and / or have not carried out the due recalls.

How to behave after a wound The wound must first be cleaned and disinfected with hydrogen peroxide. This creates an unfavorable environment for the bacterium and through its effervescence expels bacteria and dirt from the lesion. Secondly, it is advisable to check whether the person is covered by the vaccine and to act accordingly. In principle, the recall should always be made if more than 10 years have passed since the last dose of the vaccine. If less than 10 years have passed, the type of wound must be assessed: the booster dose is in fact indicated only for certain types of wounds most at risk. If the vaccine history is inadequate, incomplete or uncertain, it will be advisable to always administer the booster dose together with the injection of specific immunoglobulins (substances that are obtained from the plasma obtained from a selected group of donors with high levels of anti-tetanus antibodies).

Wounds at increased risk of tetanus

  • The wounds that penetrate deeply;
  • wounds that contain foreign bodies (for example, wood chips);
  • wounds complicated by bacterial infections;
  • animal bites;
  • wounds with extensive damage to body tissues (for example, burns, bruises);
  • all wounds contaminated with dust, earth etc. (especially if local disinfection is carried out at a distance of more than 4 hours);
  • exposed fractures;
  • the replantings of detached teeth.

Vaccine safety In about half of the cases, vaccination (alone or in combination with other vaccines) does not cause any type of reaction. When unwanted reactions appear, in most cases these are minor reactions. The most frequent event is fever, which can occur in about a third of vaccinated children. Local reactions occur in about 20% of cases, mainly pain and redness at the point where the injection was made. Such manifestations usually appear within 48 hours of the vaccine administration and last for no more than a couple of days.

What to do in case of unwanted reactions following the vaccine In case of local reactions, apply gauze or cold cloths. If the pain is particularly intense, analgesics can be taken (for example, acetaminophen). In the presence of fever it is advisable to drink a lot of liquids, not to be overly covered, to administer paracetamol-based drugs (to avoid acetylsalicylic acid) and to use cold cloths, if necessary, to reduce the fever. If the symptoms persist for more than 2 days, it may be advisable to consult your doctor to check if they represent a common side effect to vaccination or if they are caused by another disease that must be recognized and treated. In the event that important or unusual reactions appear, it is essential to seek medical attention.

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