Black Widow spiders are common at OVF. The female's bites are extremely painful, though rarely fatal. They particularly like to hide in unkempt, overstuffed mailboxes and under stacks of discarded wood. Wearing gloves while working at OVF is always a good idea. If bitten, seek medical treatment.

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Tetanus Shots

You're probably thinking about your flu shots right now. But what about your tetanus shots?

A tetanus shot is good for 10 years. You can get a tetanus booster at the time of your regular physical.

If you don't have a doctor, you can get one at Citizens Medical Group, 11560 West Pico, (310) 477-8285. The cost is $25 for the shot and $65 for the visit.

Tetanus, or lockjaw, is a very serious disease. In the US we hardly ever hear of cases of tetanus because of a highly effective vaccination program. According to CDC statistics there have been 31 cases of tetanus so far this year. One of the populations most likely to get tetanus are people over 50. After 50, many persons let their vaccinations lapse.

The organism that causes tetanus is Clostridium tetani. It exists in spore form in soil, dust and horse manure. Tetanus occurs when the spores are introduced into a deep wound, such as a puncture. The organism grows in the absence of oxygen, producing tetanus toxin. Disease usually occurs within two weeks of injury. The first symptom is spasm of the jaw muscle, or lockjaw. It progresses to convulsions and death. It has a very high mortality rate.

This is definitely a case where prevention is far better than cure.