Apparently it’s a little bit of a myth that one will catch tetanus simply by scratching themselves on a rusty nail. The rust isn’t the key–but rust is an indicator of how long a piece of metal has been sitting outside in the elements where bacteria can grow. I’m still a believer in seeing a doctor if I’ve had too close of an encounter with a rusty piece of metal–something my mother engrained in me, I guess.
Writing Prompt: Rust and Tetanus (ND)
Write a story in which someone draws a misguided conclusion about the origin of a disease, disaster, or undesirable natural effect–like the idea tetanus comes from a rusty nail when it could come just as easily from a fresh nail, etc. Perhaps they assume maggots are made from rotten meat rather than attracting flies that lay the eggs. Perhaps your story takes place on an alien planet and there’s a misconception that “death” comes from red sunsets when you’re out alone in the desert. Have your protagonist survive this encounter and embark on a life-changing journey to figure out what the real connection is between death and red sunsets, rust and tetanus, or stepping on cracks and breaking their backs. Bonus points if your protagonist has a love interest who perished or is in critical condition from this encounter that is motivating them to seek answers.