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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

    Prevent Meningitis: Tips to Protect Your Teen

    There's a lot you can do to help prevent meningitis in your teenager. For one, a meningococcal vaccine can help prevent the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in teens. Your teen can also take steps to enhance his or her immune system and to prevent the spread of the disease.

    Read the Prevent Meningitis: Tips to Protect Your Teen 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

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