Symptoms of Tetanus –

Symptoms of Tetanus

Tetanus is an acute bacterial disease characterized by a heavy affection of the nervous system

Tetanus is an acute bacterial disease characterized by a heavy affection of the nervous system with the further development of convulsions. The disease is caused by a tetanus bacillus, which can exist in spores in the environment for years.

The incubation period of the disease may last from several days to one month, but commonly it takes 7 – 14 days on average. The shorter the incubation period, the more severe the disease and the higher the probability of death. The first specific symptoms that indicate tetanus during its initial stage are as follows:


  • tension and spasmodic contraction of the masticatory muscles, which leads to difficulties when opening the mouth (lockjaw);
  • tension of mimic muscles, resulted in a “sardonic smile” that gives a person a specific sick expression of wrinkled forehead, narrowed eye slits, stretched lips and dropped corners of the mouth;
  • difficult and painful swallowing, caused by a convulsive spasm of the pharynx muscles;
  • one of the earliest signs is a dull pain in the area where infection penetrated through the damaged skin.It’s worth noting that a combination of the first three symptoms, i.e. lockjaw, “sardonic smile” and difficulties with swallowing, is characteristic only for tetanus.As the disease progresses, a set of additional signs develops. They include:

Tetanus is

  • painful tension of the body muscles and limbs that does not capture the muscles of hands and feet;
  • muscle relaxation typically does not occur even during a night sleep;
  • the lines of the large muscles are clearly outlined, especially in men;
  • starting from the third or fourth day of disease, the abdominal muscles become rigid, the movements of legs are often restricted;
  • breathing becomes shallow and rapid;
  • tension of perineum muscle results in difficulties with defecation;
  • due to the tension in the muscles of the perineum feces and urine remove badly;
  • pain in the back muscles as well as severe tension cause a characteristic state of the patient. Lying on his back, the patient’s head is thrown back and the lower part of his body is raised above the bed so that it’s possible to place a hand between the back and the bed;
  • constant muscle tension causes periodical convulsions of a different frequency. First their duration varies from a few seconds to a minute, while in severe cases they may last up to several minutes. The attacks of convulsions occur suddenly;
    patients moan and cry because of the intensive pain;
  • body temperature is usually increased and is accompanied by heavy sweating, excessive salivation, rapid breathing and heartbeat;
  • painful insomnia develops as a result of muscle tension and spasms;
  • irritability;
  • difficulties with breathing.Period from the 7th and up to the 10-14th day of the disease is considered to be the most dangerous. At this time, due to a severe intoxication violations in breathing and heart activity may occur, which can lead to death. A recovery period is very long, tetanus symptoms disappear very slowly and may be observed for another 4 weeks. A full recovery of the organism occurs within 1.5-2 months after the onset of the disease.