Tetanus is a bacterial infection that affects the muscular and nervous systems. Symptoms start to occur between three days and three weeks after infection. Most people receive immunization against tetanus; the shot lasts for 10 years. If you believe that you have been infected, you should visit your doctor to receive a tetanus booster to prevent infection if it has been a long time since your last one.
Tetanus must enter the body through an open wound. Usually, this occurs from stepping on a rusty nail or knife, but it could also come from needles.
A headache can be a sign of tetanus, but it is associated with many other illnesses as well and should not be used to diagnose or suspect tetanus on its own.
You may experience extreme muscle spasms in your jaw, which can cause it to lock up or freeze, making it immobile. Doctors call this “lockjaw.”
Your muscles may twitch or have spasms if you have tetanus. You will especially notice it in your facial muscles, though it can travel elsewhere in your body. Sometimes, the spasms will grow into full seizures.
The disease can also affect the respiratory muscles, which can make it difficult to breathe. You may find yourself gasping for breath or unable to breath in.
- rusty nail image by Yali Shi from Fotolia.com