Skip to content

    Children's Vaccines Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    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

    The Meningitis Vaccines: What Parents Should Know

    Many colleges require students to get a meningococcal vaccine before moving into a dorm. Some summer camps also require it. And there's good reason. Meningococcal disease can become life threatening quickly, and teens are at higher risk of getting it. It's a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in teens. Meningitis is a dangerous inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Two meningitis vaccines protects against four types of meningococcal disease. An additional type of vaccine...

    Read the The Meningitis Vaccines: What Parents Should Know 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 Dan Brennan, MD on March 11, 2015

    Today on WebMD

    Baby getting vaccinated
    Is there a link? Get the facts.
    syringes and graph illustration
    Get a customized vaccine schedule.
     
    baby getting a vaccine
    Know the benefits and the risk
    nurse holding syringe in front of girl
    Should your child have it?
     

    What To Know About The HPV Vaccine
    Article
    24 Kid Illnesses Parents Should Know
    Slideshow
     
    Nausea and Vomiting Remedies Slideshow
    Article
    Managing Immunization Schedules For Kids
    Video
     

    Doctor administering vaccine to toddler
    Video
    gloved hand holding syringe
    Article
     
    infant receiving injection
    Tool
    pills
    Quiz
     

    WebMD Special Sections