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Understanding Tetanus -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Tetanus?

You should suspect tetanus if a cut or wound is followed by one or more of these symptoms:

  • Stiffness of the neck, jaw, and other muscles, often accompanied by a grotesque, grinning expression
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Irritability
  • Uncontrollable spasms of the jaw, called lockjaw, and neck muscles
  • Painful, involuntary contraction of other muscles

In some cases, symptoms will develop in the absence of any cut or wound that you can recall.  In addition, you may notice restlessness, lack of appetite, and drooling.

Recommended Related to Children's Vaccines

What Is the Alternative Vaccine Schedule?

When pediatrician Robert W. Sears, MD, wrote The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child, he wanted to give parents more choices on how to vaccinate their children if they were concerned about a vaccine’s side effects or ingredients or the large number of shots that kids get.  “A lot of parents don’t really trust the vaccine system,” Sears says. “I felt that if I could give parents a better understanding of vaccines -- as well as an alternative way to approach giving vaccines -- then...

Read the What Is the Alternative Vaccine Schedule? article > >

 

Call Your Doctor About Tetanus If:

You are bitten by an animal or wounded by an object that might be contaminated with dirt, feces, or dust, and you have not been immunized against tetanus or received a booster within the last five years. Tetanus infection can be fatal and should be treated as soon as possible.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Daniel Brennan, MD on March 12, 2014

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