Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is a rare but serious bacterial infection that affects the nervous system. It is caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani, which is commonly found in soil, dust, and animal feces. Tetanus causes severe muscle stiffness and can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Tetanus FAQ


What is tetanus?

Tetanus is a rare but serious bacterial infection that affects the nervous system, causing severe muscle stiffness.

How do you get tetanus?

Tetanus is caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani, which is commonly found in soil, dust, and animal feces, entering the body through a wound or cut.

What are the symptoms of tetanus?

Symptoms of tetanus include muscle stiffness, especially in the jaw muscles (lockjaw), difficulty swallowing, stiffness of abdominal muscles, and spasms.

Is tetanus contagious?

Tetanus is not contagious and cannot be spread from person to person.

How is tetanus diagnosed?

Tetanus is diagnosed based on the presenting symptoms and the patient's history of potential exposure to the bacterium.

How is tetanus treated?

Treatment for tetanus includes wound care, medications to manage symptoms, and the administration of tetanus immunoglobulin and a vaccine.

Is there a vaccine for tetanus?

Yes, there is a vaccine for tetanus, which is routinely administered as part of the childhood immunization schedule and is available for adults as a booster shot.

How often should adults get a tetanus booster?

Adults should receive a tetanus booster shot every 10 years to maintain protection against tetanus.

Can tetanus be prevented?

Tetanus can be prevented through vaccination and proper wound care to reduce the risk of the bacterium entering the body.

What is tetanus toxoid?

Tetanus toxoid is a vaccine used to prevent tetanus and is often combined with other vaccines for diphtheria and pertussis.

Is there a cure for tetanus?

There is no cure for tetanus, but prompt and appropriate medical treatment can effectively manage the symptoms and prevent complications.

Can tetanus cause death?

Untreated tetanus can be fatal, especially in cases where muscle stiffness affects the ability to breathe or swallows, leading to respiratory or metabolic complications.

How long does the protection from tetanus vaccine last?

The protection from the tetanus vaccine typically lasts for 10 years, after which a booster shot is required to maintain immunity.

Is tetanus common?

Tetanus is rare in countries with widespread vaccination programs, but it can occur in individuals who have not been adequately immunized or have not received timely medical care for wounds.

Are there any side effects of the tetanus vaccine?

Common side effects of the tetanus vaccine may include pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site, mild fever, and fatigue, which usually resolve within a few days.

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