Skip to main content


When we think of tetanus, the first image that may pop into our mind is of rusty nails or knives. However, do you know that these aren't the only reasons or places where tetanus can be found? Yes! In fact, the bacterium for tetanus lives in soil and dirt, too.

There is so much other information similar to this that the public is not aware of. Hence, to ensure that the proper measures are taken into consideration where tetanus might be a possibility, we are here to enlighten you on the proper education and awareness related to it. Hop on below.

What is Tetanus?

Tetanus – also known as jawlock – is a serious yet preventable disease that affects the body's nerves and muscles. Children in the United States are advised to get their vaccination against tetanus starting at the age of 2 months. However, what people need to understand is that this disease is more common in underdeveloped and other developing countries than it is in the United States.

What Causes Tetanus?

According to the CDC, tetanus is caused by a type of bacteria called 'Clostridium Tetanu,' which lives in the soil. This bacteria makes a toxin, which then attaches to the nerves present around the wound area, and then through the nerve travels to the brain and spinal cord. From there, it starts to interfere with the regular activity and functioning of the nerves – especially the motor nerve – and then hinders the normal functioning and sending of direct messages to the muscles.

Tetanus is more common in:

What is Neonatal Tetanus?

Neonatal tetanus is also a form of tetanus that people haven't heard of much. This form of tetanus happens to newborn babies who are born under unsanitary conditions. This majorly happens if the umbilical cord becomes contaminated during birth. Hence, to prevent this form of tetanus from occurring, parents need to incorporate routine immunizations and sanitary cord care.

The Signs and Symptoms of Tetanus

Now that you have gained a clear understanding of what tetanus is, we are sure you must be thinking of how you can rule it out. Well, while seeking medical help in any uncertainty is essential, people can still rule out or assume tetanus diagnoses based on the following symptoms and signs provided by NHS:

  1. Lockjaw or tightening of the jaw, which makes it difficult to swallow, speak, or breathe. Muscles all over the body can also stiffen.
  2. Hypertension and tachycardia.
  3. Fever
  4. Excessive sweating
  5. Muscle spasms occur, especially in the stomach region. However, they can happen all over the body.
  6. Paralysis
  7. Headache

How Can Tetanus Be Treated?

If you know someone who got tetanus or has seen its treatments, then you would know that tetanus is treated in a hospital – usually in the ICU. Any person who has gotten tetanus is then given antibiotics to kill the bacteria and a Tetanus Immune Globin (TIG) to neutralize the toxin that has already been released. The patients are then also administered medicines that help control the muscle spasms and may need treatments to support vital body functions.

How Can Tetanus Be Prevented?

Tetanus, while does happen, is also preventable. The two most important ways through which tetanus can be prevented are:

Then kids get a Tdap or tetanus and diphtheria (Td) booster every ten years through adulthood. The Tdap vaccine is also advisable for pregnant women during the second half of their pregnancy, irrespective of whether they had gotten a shot before or not.

When Should A Child Get Their First Tetanus Shot?

Tetanus, while it does cause severe symptoms like lockjaw, is entirely preventable with a vaccination. The DtaP vaccine is used to prevent tetanus, and the children will get their first shot series at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. Your child will also need a shot between the ages of 15 to 18 months and one at the age of 4 to 6.

Moreover, children should continue getting their tetanus follow-up shots during their annual pediatric checkup until they turn 18 years of age. However, at this age, instead of getting a DtaP like before, getting the Tdap booster shot, which helps a young adult be protected against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, is recommended.

Wrapping Up!

We often disregard getting a scratch from any sharp object, put on some medication, and go about our day. However, this approach is not correct, and understanding both tetanus and its implications on the body is highly essential. Protecting both children and adults from tetanus and taking all preventive measures is extremely important. We hope this article was sufficient enough to help you understand all the essential information on tetanus and it was ideal enough to provide sufficient public awareness of this medical issue. We hope this article was sufficient enough to add to your knowledge. Our staff at Healthy Kids Care at Sunrise are here to answer any questions or concerns.

In Health,

Dr. Atousa 


You Might Also Enjoy...

Congenital Heart

Beyond Birth: Understanding Congenital Heart Disease 

Beyond Birth: Understanding Congenital Heart Disease The heart is one of the body's most vital organs and is responsible for pumping blood throughout your body. Given that this is among the body's most critical organs, the heart also experiences the most