Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Well What Would You Do If... Part III

Tetanus- A friend of mine worked on the now defunct Oakland Temple Pageant and told me that at the beginning of pageant season there was quite the to-do over tetanus shots. It had been recommended that all crew members get one in case someone got cut by something rusty, but some people hadn’t for whatever reasons. So much zealousness was then directed at getting crew members to receive a tetanus shot and of course the mandate of vaccines for missionaries was invoked which was taken to mean that vaccination was virtually a commandment. Little did the crew of the Oakland Temple Pageant know that of all the Church’s pageants, they were the least likely to have any trouble with tetanus because they were the only indoor pageant. Tetanus is caused by a microorganism that lives in the soil and intestinal tracts of animals and enters the body through deep, uncleaned, open wounds. (Neustaedter 255) Thus the classic rusty nail scenario isn’t a matter of rust spreading tetanus, rather it’s a matter of the moist conditions providing a good environment for the bacteria to grow on  the nail and the nail providing an excellent means for a deep puncture wound. This also means that the cast and crew of the Oakland Temple Pageant had very little to fear from scrapes and cuts on rusty, indoor lockers. In fact, my unvaccinated friend received a severe gash from a rusty locker and had no problems with tetanus. However, if I or my child were to step on the hypothetical rusty nail, there are two options other than a tetanus shot I would look at:
  • Tetanus Immune Globulin shot- This is a shot of tetanus immune globulin and is used to fight tetanus infection once it has taken hold. According to Neustaedter, it has not been associated with severe reactions like the tetanus toxoid shot has been. (262)
  • Homeopathy- I am surprised that Neustaedter states that there are no alternative treatments for tetanus (especially since he is a homeopath). According to the Materia Medica, strychninum purum, physostigma venenosum, and cicuta virosa can treat tetanus and hypericum perforatum can prevent it.

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