Signs and symptoms of tetanus

The symptoms of tetanus usually develop within4 to 21 days after infection. On average, they start after around 10 days.

The main symptoms include:

  • stiffness in your jaw muscles (lockjaw) this can make it difficult to open your mouth
  • painful muscle spasms these can make swallowing and breathing difficult
  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • sweating
  • a rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)

Left untreated, the symptoms can continue to get worse over the following hours and days. In some cases, life-threatening problems such as suffocation or a cardiac arrest (where the heart stops beating) can occur.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018