a bacterial infection. A
toxin from the
infection affects the nervous system. It can lead to severe muscle spasms. Such spasms lead to lockjaw. This spasm makes it impossible to open or close the mouth. Tetanus can be fatal.
Medication to treat symptoms—may include antiseizure medication or muscle relaxants
Tetanus can cause severe problems with breathing or swallowing. A breathing tube may be inserted in the throat. This will help keep the airway open until you heal. A surgical procedure called a
may be done. This will provide an open airway if your upper airway cannot be accessed.
The best means of prevention is immunization. The immunization schedule for tetanus is as follows:
All children, with few exceptions should receive the, DTaP
series. This protects against
diphtheria, tetanus, and
A single dose of Tdap vaccine is recommended for children aged 11 years or older, even if they did not receive the DTaP.
Adults should receive a booster dose of the tetanus and diphtheria vaccine (Td) every 10 years. They may also receive this vaccine after an exposure to tetanus. It is not harmful to receive a tetanus vaccination earlier than 10 years.
If you or your child has not been fully vaccinated, talk to the doctor. There are catch-up schedules available.
In addition to the vaccine, you can prevent tetanus by taking proper care of wounds:
ACOG Committee Opinion No. 566: Update on immunization and pregnancy: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccination. Obstet Gynecol. 2013;121(6):1411-1414.
Tetanus (lockjaw) vaccination. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated February 7, 2013. Accessed June 2, 2014.
1/24/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance ...(Click grey area to select URL) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Updated recommendations for use of tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis (tdap) vaccine from the advisory committee on immunization practices, 2010. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011;60(1):13-15.
11/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance ...(Click grey area to select URL) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Updated recommendations for use of tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) in pregnant women and persons who have or anticipate having close contact with an infant aged <12 months—Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2011. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011;60:1424-1426.
4/1/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance ...(Click grey area to select URL) Bridges CB, Coyne-Beasley T, et al. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended immunization schedule for adults aged 19 years or older—United States, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014. 63(7):110-112. Akinsanya-Beysolow I, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), et al. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 0 through 18 years - United States, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014;63(5):108-109.
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