Barefeet, shorts and t-shirts are the uniform of summer vacations or vacations of any kind for many of us. Probably most of us are wearing flip-flops or sandals rather than bare feet but still, the risk of little nicks, cuts, and other abrasions on your unprotected skin. As we look around for rust, we are missing the real source of tetanus. The bacteria live in the soil. And while tetanus infections are uncommon due to swift and proper treatment, we can save ourselves a lot of trouble if we follow a few simple steps. Tetanus bacteria live in the soil and the infection can cause a variety of muscle spasms and stiffness. For that reason, we often call the symptoms “lockjaw” but in extreme, untreated cases affect the breathing muscles of the victim. So what can you do?
When in the yard, you can protect your skin with gloves, shoes, and pants from cuts and scratches. Once you have done a job that put you in contact with soil, manure, or other forms of dirt, check yourself for cuts and scratches. Take care of this minor damage as soon as you notice it.
Soap and water are your best defence against tetanus. Immunisation is important and you should know when you need a booster. Adults should consider a booster every ten years.
Tetanus can take three days to three weeks to show up. Be aware of muscle stiffness that feels wrong, like trouble swallowing.That is the time to get a health professional involved.
These simple, easy steps will make it easier to enjoy outdoors and reduce concerns over cuts and scrapes.
Francis Harry Compton Crick OM FRS was born on this date in 1916. He was a British molecular biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist, most noted for being a co-discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule in 1953 with James Watson. Together with Watson and Maurice Wilkins, he was jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material”. Crick was an important theoretical molecular biologist and played a crucial role in research related to revealing the genetic code. He is widely known for use of the term “central dogma” to summarise the idea that genetic information flow in cells is essentially one-way, from DNA to RNA to protein. During the remainder of his career, he held the post of J.W. Kieckhefer Distinguished Research Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. His later research centred on theoretical neurobiology and attempts to advance the scientific study of human consciousness. He remained in this post until his death; “he was editing a manuscript on his death bed, a scientist until the bitter end” according to Christof Koch.