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Cuts, Scrapes, and Stitches and the Risk of Tetanus

From 25 to 30-foot falls to concussions, broken bones and stitches, this week’s newsletter is about another emergency situation that most parents face at one time or another. The short falls from bicycles, swings, playing hard and running into walls, slides, skating rinks, swimming pool edges, and stumbles on sidewalks can be just as hard on the noggin as the big falls. When concrete, wall and hard ground meets a child’s head, there is bound to be a gash or split skin that will require stitches.

So it’s off to the emergency room. On your way there, be sure to give your child (and yourself) some Aconite to handle the shock and potential for internal swelling within the head. And let the gash bleed…profusely. This is the best way to keep the area clean until you can get to the hospital where emergency staff will ‘debride’ (clean up) the wound, especially if it was more than just concrete your child was in contact with (think road rash from the hot new skateboard or inline skates in the spring before road cleanup).

What the medical staff are most concerned about at this stage is any exposure to the tetanus bacteria. The only way it can enter the body to potentially harm children and adults is through open wounds. This bacterium loves an anaerobic environment (meaning no oxygen). So if you are keeping the wound open to the air (oxygen) and bleeding, there is a much better chance that the bacteria cannot take hold.

So there you are waiting, waiting, waiting in the ‘waiting’ room, you and your child splotched with blood and it occurs to you: the ‘question’ from the doctors and/or nurses. It’s routine and they are going to ask it…the vaccination question. Maybe you already avoided calling the grandparents because of the ‘V’ issue. After all, it can very possibly become an issue, especially with something as serious as tetanus.

And they are serious – both tetanus and the ‘V’ question. Being prepared ahead of time for this question/conversation is so important. You might be very fortunate to have an emergency staff that is respectful of your choices, especially when they take the time to understand that you made an informed choice. Please remember, some emergency medical staff see the worst of the worst…including the effects of a tetanus infection. Although some parents have reported that their emergency room experience was less than kind. Be prepared.

You take a deep breath and decide honesty is the best policy. In reply to the ‘question,’ you tell the doctor that your child is vaccine free. At this point, you will likely be advised to have your child vaccinated with a tetanus vaccine and/or an injection of ‘tetanus immune globulin.’

Before respectfully declining the vaccine, do ask the doctor if tetanus is a real risk at this point. If the wound has been cleaned well and the doctor assesses a low risk situation, then you can rest in your choice if you are quite familiar with the risks of the tetanus vaccine.

Here is what one parent wrote to me last week regarding tetanus and vaccines and their recent family trip to emergency for stitches:

“I feel the more people that are aware the better. I think tetanus is a frightening situation for parents only because the only information that we get from doctors is to get the vaccines. Even our pediatrician said to me that he couldn’t possibly do his own research on all the vaccines out there.” ~ AK

With just a little bit of research, you will discover that a tetanus vaccine after the injury will have no effect in preventing tetanus in a vaccine free child or adult.

Onto option number two…the ‘tetanus immune globulin’ or ‘TIG.’

TIG is the plasma from the blood pooled from a number of people vaccinated for tetanus, then ‘washed,’ filtered, and packaged. It is then given as an injection through the muscle rather than through a vein.

This, too, has risks – the biggest one being that this is a blood product with the real possibility of contamination. As much as care is taken to be contaminate-free, tainted blood products are all too real. Know the risks.

Here is what Randall Neustaedter, OMD has to say about the vaccine and TIG in his book, The Vaccine Guide: Risks and Benefits for Children and Adults:

“Anyone with a serious wound should receive tetanus immune globulin (TIG) if they have had less than two previous injections of tetanus toxoid (vaccine). The human immune globulin (TIG) contains tetanus antibodies that will directly attack circulating tetanus bacteria. This will help prevent the multiplication of bacteria and developing infection if it is given within a few days of injury. TIG will not confer lasting immunity to tetanus. By contrast, tetanus toxoid will not provide adequate protection in previously unvaccinated people until the second dose of the series given 1 to 2 months after the first. This is too long a period of time to protect a person from a wound that has already occurred.”

I respect Neustaedter’s work, but I would suggest you have a look at the package insert for the TIG product (particularly the ‘warnings’ section) AND the vaccine (be sure to read the list of ingredients in the Tetanus Toxoid vaccine) before deciding whether these are options for you or your child.

Here is what the same parent sent to me by way of follow-up regarding TIG and their choice to refuse both the vaccine and TIG:

“When our child got his stitches out, the pediatrician stated that the TIG shot is a blood product and should only be given to someone who is at risk. He asked if the doctors at the hospital said anything about the TIG shot to us. Then went on to say that if they did not discuss it then they would’ve felt our child was not at risk for tetanus. The pediatrician was wary of the blood product only because of possible transmission of other diseases, saying that it is not 100% safe. Even though they screen the blood, stuff may still get through. After I heard that, I was actually more confident that I did the right thing.”

And do go to the National Vaccine Information Centre webpage where you can find the very best, up-to-date information on vaccine safety in general and for Tetanus specifically.

You can use homeopathy to help support the body as it heals from deep and superficial puncture wounds. Ledum and Hypericum will be your first ‘go to’ remedies (after Aconite or Arnica for the shock) in your home kit.

You might find it interesting to read a lecture from one of the great masters of homeopathy, James Tyler Kent, on Ledum and Hypericum for tetanus. Horse/animal owners? Same information!

VACCINE FREE: NOW WHAT? 12-week Teleseminar Class
Starting Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tetanus will be just one of the infectious illnesses that will be covered in more detail in the 12-week Vaccine Free: Now What? teleseminar class. Today’s newsletter on tetanus only covers a small portion of what you will need to know before that trip to the emergency waiting room!

Just think how relieved you will feel if you know more before you go!

You can find out more details on the course and sign up here – and remember the Early Bird Deadline is February 21, 2013.


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