Serum is a thin straw-colored or grayish body fluid secreted by certain membranes, or the fluid part of the blood after the blood cells have been removed which is also called serum.Serum contains important body proteins and immune substances or antitoxin.
Since all serums contain proteins , the injection or antitoxins or other serums act as foreign proteins and often cause a severe reaction in sensitive individuals.
This happens most frequently in persons who have at one time received a serum injection and have thus become sensitized.
Always inform the doctor who is about to give you a tetanus antitoxin injection if you have had one before, so that he can take necessary precautions to prevent a reaction or perhaps decide not to give you one at all.
Serum reactions are accompanied by fever and an eruption of hives or a rash. They may also cause edematous swellings over the entire body and even produce difficult breathing from edema of the larynx, which may be followed by collapse.
The reaction may come immediately after the injection or some days later.The treatment consists in injection of adrenalin and taking of calcium tablets in the milder cases, in severe cases more active measures are required.
Serum treatment of infectious disease is employed because the blood serum contains the antitoxins or immune antibodies which will overcome the germ causing the same disease.
The serum is obtained either from a horse which has been injected repeatedly with small doses of toxin of certain bacteria or from human beings who have recovered from an infectious disease.
When a horse is used in this manner he develops large amounts of antibodies in his blood serum.
He is then bled and the serum is separated and used as an antitoxin for people suffering from that particular disease.