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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is tetanus?
Tetanus is a bacterial infection that enters through skin wounds. A person infected with tetanus can experience severe muscle spasms. Tetanus is also known by the name 'lockjaw' due to the characteristic jaw muscle spasm that it induces.
What causes tetanus?
Tetanus is caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria. Infection usually occurs when the bacteria contaminate a skin wound.
How common is tetanus?
Tetanus is now rare in developed countries due to effective vaccination. In the developing world it is still a serious health concern, particularly among infants.
What are the symptoms of tetanus?
Tetanus shows up mainly as uncontrollable muscle spasms all over the body. The spasms are especially noticeable at first near the infection area and in the head, neck and jaw. As the disease progresses, these spasms appear all over the body.
Who gets tetanus?
Anyone whose vaccination against tetanus is not up to date can be infected by tetanus.
How is tetanus diagnosed?
Your doctor will diagnose tetanus by observing the clinical signs. Sometimes your doctor will choose to perform a spatula test by touching the back of your throat with a spatula. The normal reaction is a gag reflex, but if you have tetanus, you will automatically …
How is tetanus treated?
There is no quick cure for tetanus. If you have a tetanus infection, you will be given medication that will help fight the infection and the effects of the toxin. You will also be given stabilizing treatment to keep you safe from danger until your body can recover …
Can I prevent being infected with tetanus?
The best protection against tetanus is getting vaccinated. In addition, it is best to avoid injuries in dirty environments and to seek immediate treatment when such an injury occurs.
About this article
Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 19 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.9 out of 5
Votes: 1328 (Click smiley face below to rate)
Category: Whooping cough (pertussis)