Tetanus is an infection caused by a bacterium called Clostridium tetani. Spores of tetanus bacteria are everywhere in the environment, including soil, dust, and manure. The spores develop into bacteria when they enter the body through breaks in the skin — usually cuts or puncture wounds caused by contaminated objects.

The time from exposure to illness — is usually between 3 and 21 days (average 10 days)

The first sign is most commonly spasms of the muscles of the jaw, or “lockjaw.”

Symptoms of Tetanus

• Sudden, involuntary muscle tightening (muscle spasms) — often in the stomach
• Painful muscle stiffness all over the body
• Trouble swallowing
• Jerking or staring (seizures)
• Headache
• Fever and sweating
• Changes in blood pressure and a fast heart rate

Good wound care and being up to date with your tetanus vaccine is the best tool to prevent tetanus.

How long is the vaccine effective for?

The vaccine that protects us against tetanus is virtually 100% effective—as long as the vaccinated person has had the proper vaccine dosage within the past 10 years.

Kids get their earliest tetanus vaccine is in a triple-protector vaccine called “DTaP” because it protects against three diseases—diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough).

Boosters are needed every 10 years.


(Information and image for this post has been taken from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Website)