Possible tetanus risk from gardening
Although this article is not really "Research on Health Benefits" it is directly related to health and flowers (gardening) and we thought it is just plain interesting. After all, how many of us actually worry about contracting something serious from doing a little gardening?
The Canadian Press (May 24, 2011)
For many Canadians, the spring gardening season means getting one's hands dirty planting vegetables and flowers or doing outdoor renovations — activities that can put them at risk for tetanus, say infectious disease experts.
The Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness and Promotion is advising Canadians to make sure they are up to date on their tetanus vaccinations, which should be repeated every 10 years.
Tetanus is caused by a neurotoxin produced by the Clostridium tetani
bacterium, which is widely found in soil and has been detected in
animal feces. Infection usually occurs when a person is exposed to the
toxin through a cut or puncture of the skin.
Such exposure can occur through something as simple as a scrape from a rose bush or getting cut from gardening or other tools used outdoors or stored in areas where they may be exposed to the bacteria.Tetanus affects the nervous system and leads to paralysis and potentially even death. Symptoms of infection include stiffness of the jaw, known as lockjaw, and severe muscle spasms that usually appear about eight days after exposure.
"Although most Canadians understand the importance of tetanus immunization, many people still don't realize that a booster dose is needed every 10 years to keep their protection up," coalition chair Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday in a release. "The tetanus booster is safe, effective and free for all Canadians, so there is no reason why anyone should be unprotected."
Adults over age 60 are at increased risk of tetanus infection as they may not have been immunized when they were younger or they may have forgotten to get their booster shot, said Dr. Susan Bowles, vice-chair of the organization. "Spring is a great time for Canadians to check their immunization records and to visit their physician or public health office about receiving a tetanus booster, especially if planning home renovation or gardening projects," she said.
Steps to help avoid tetanus infection.
- Wear protective gloves, clothing and footwear while renovating and gardening.
- Be mindful when using tools that can cause injury to skin.
- If injured, immediately clean wounds thoroughly with warm water and soap.
The Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness and Promotion receives unrestricted educational grants from several vaccine makers.