Tetanus is a very rare disease in Europe. It is caused by bacteria and you get persistent cramps in the muscles. Tetanus is life-threatening, but if you receive the early treatment you are usually restored.

Most people in Europe have good protection against tetanus. You who are born after 1960 are usually vaccinated in the general vaccination program for children. Renew your vaccination if it is more than 20 years since you received a vaccine that included tetanus protection.

Symptoms of tetanus

Stomach cramps are caused by bacteria. They form a poison that can make you more sensitive to sound and light. You can also get persistent cramps in the muscles and difficult to breathe. The cramps begin on the face and neck and spread to the arms and legs.

When and where should I seek care?

If you think you have tetanus, contact a health care center or an on-call reception immediately. If closed, seek care at an emergency room. 

Contact a health care center if one or more of the statements mentioned below is true of you:

  • You are not vaccinated against tetanus.
  • You have not received as many vaccinations as needed.
  • You have received an animal bite or other wound and are unsure if you have adequate vaccination protection.

Then you get help in assessing your symptoms of tetanus and can get advice on what you can do yourself and if you should seek care. You can read more about what applies if you need care in the text Care abroad.

So infectious tetanus

Tetanus is a very serious wound infection. It usually begins in a wound that has come into contact with the bacteria found in soil. You can also be infected by animal bites. Tetanus bacteria are normally found in the intestine of many animals and in soil fertilized. Dogs and cats can have tetanus bacteria in their mouths. This is because the animals bit on objects in the wild or licked their paws. Tetanus does not infect humans.

It usually takes between three days and three weeks from the time you become infected to get sick.

Treatment for tetanus

When treating tetanus, it is common to receive anticonvulsant drugs, antibiotics, and immunoglobulins that act as an antidote.

You may get cramps and difficult to breathe if you have had tetanus. Therefore, you may need respiratory care and be anesthetized until the poison has disappeared from the body. It can take several weeks.

Check the crankshaft cover

For all types of wounds that may have come into contact with tetanus bacteria, tetanus protection should be reviewed.

Renew your vaccination if it is more than 20 years since your last vaccination with a vaccine that protects against tetanus. If you are not sure whether you have tetanus protection, contact a health care center.

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