Tetanus Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Tetanus Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Tetanus is a disease caused by infection with the bacterium Clostridium tetani. This disease is characterized by increased general stiffness and spasms of the skeletal muscles.

Although tetanus can be prevented, immunity to this disease does not last a lifetime. Therefore, a booster injection is needed if someone has a wound that is prone to tetanus infection.

Tetanus Symptom

People with tetanus will experience symptoms of tetanus such as the following:

  • One of the symptoms of tetanus is stiffness in certain parts of the body, such as the jaw and stomach, making it difficult to sit
  • Seizure Symptoms
  • Too fast pulse
  • Difficulty swallowing food or drink
  • Breathing rate too fast
  • Increase or decrease in blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness

Tetanus Reason

The cause of tetanus arises from the attack of the Clostridium tetani bacteria. These bacteria usually live in soil, dust, and animal waste.

Bacteria can enter the body through wounds and grow faster in areas where there is a lack of oxygen. So, the deeper and narrower the wound, the less oxygen there will be around it, and the greater the chance of developing tetanus.


Usually, the diagnosis of tetanus is only based on a general physical examination. Such as checking blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate, and pulse.

Patients with tetanus do not need laboratory tests. However, when the patient has a wound where tetanus infection is suspected, the cause of tetanus can be examined from bacteria in the laboratory to detect the presence of bacteria.


Complications that can occur in people with tetanus are as follows:

  • Stiffness of the muscles of the respiratory tract and vocal cords
  • Bone injury characterized by a shift in the bone out of its normal position
  • Fracture
  • Lung infection
  • Nervous disorder
  • Loss of consciousness to coma

Tetanus Treatment

For the treatment of tetanus patients, the first stage of the treatment procedure is:

  • Place the patient in a safe and comfortable position
  • If the patient is unconscious or has seizures, do not give a spoon or put anything in his mouth
  • Help the patient to expedite breathing by tilting the patient’s body position. This is so that the tongue falls backward
  • Immediately contact the nearest hospital or health agency

If the first stage of the treatment procedure has been carried out, the following further steps will be carried out by the hospital:

  • Antibiotics
    The types of tetanus drugs given are procaine penicillin, ampicillin, tetracycline, metronidazole, and erythromycin. If the patient has pneumonia, the patient can be given additional cephalosporin drugs.
  • Neutralization of toxin
    Before giving antitetanus serum (ATS) to a patient, a serum test will be carried out first on the patient’s skin. If the hospital has human tetanus immunoglobulin, tetanus medication can also be given to patients as an adjunct.
  • Anticonvulsants
    Administration of drugs that can prevent or reduce seizures (convulsants) can also be done, such as diazepam. This tetanus drug also works to treat anxiety.
  • Wound care
    Performed after administration of ATS antitoxin and anticonvulsants.
  • Supportive therapy
    At this stage, the patient will be freed his airway and then given oxygen. Administration of fluids and nutrition as well as monitoring will also be carried out.


To prevent tetanus, you should do the following:

  • Routine immunizations
    Including the basic immunization against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT) which is given three times from the age of 2 months. This immunization is carried out 4-6 weeks apart, which is then carried out again at the age of 18 months and 5 years.
  • Handling the wound immediately
    If you have a wound, clean it immediately and give anti-tetanus fluids to avoid infection. Especially in deep wounds, such as being exposed to iron, falling in dirty places, or bitten by dogs.

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