Fear of Tetanus or Lockjaw

Disease is something we all try to avoid and we will work to prevent illness before it starts when vaccines are available. One disease that can elicit fear in an individual is tetanus. This disease is sometimes known as lockjaw and its diagnosable name is Tetanophobia.

According to the National Institute on Health, “Tetanus is a serious illness caused by tetanus bacteria. The bacteria live in soil, saliva, dust and manure. The bacteria usually enter the body through a deep cut, like those you might get from cutting yourself with a knife or stepping on a nail.

“The infection causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to ‘locking’ of the jaw, which makes it impossible to open your mouth or swallow. If this happens, you could die of suffocation.”

Perhaps this bit of news is what can instill a sense of fear.

Other Causes for Tetanophobia

A parent who is highly protective can cause a child to consider the possibility that a fear of an object or disease is warranted. For instance if an adult in your past was always highly concerned about nails, rakes or shovels and the potential for skin puncture it may be possible the impression is that these objects are incredibly dangerous.

This fear can also be the result of having to undergo a tetanus shot following a childhood accident. Sometimes the very act of obsessing over what ‘might have been’ can be enough to cause fear to race through your being like a wildfire in August.

What are the symptoms of Tetanophobia?

An individual with this fear may seek to relieve the fear through avoidance.  This individual may not engage in home repair or even gardening in an effort to avoid potential contact with the virus which often resides in outdoor locations or among exposure to sharp metal objects. Exposure to the bacteria can cause potential problems and this potential exposure can lead to severe panic.

Other symptoms may also include…

  • Air hunger
  • Crying
  • Trembling
  • Screaming
  • Rationalizing symptoms of the disease that do not actually exist
  • Fainting
  • Nausea

Because this fear may be linked to an overall fear of germs or bacteria the individual may also have an obsession with keeping their environment clean and may resist touching objects whenever possible.

How to Overcome Tetanophobia

The process of overcoming Tetanophobia may be a work in tandem with a health care provider along with the use of a trusted therapist.

The physician can help further explain how tetanus is contracted along with ways to generally avoid contracting the disease. They will also be able to provide information on how to gain treatment following a cut. When treated, tetanus problem are minimized or even eliminated.

A therapist can help you deal with life in the majority of time between any potential disease inducing contact with the tetanus bacteria.

When consulting with a therapist you may find that they also work to deal with other fear-based issues that may be causing you contributing problems.

The fear of tetanus or lockjaw is also referred to as:

  • Tetanus fear
  • Lockjaw fear
  • Tetanophobia
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