Is tetanus fatal?

Tetanus is a serious infection caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. It usually enters the body through broken skin or wounds and can cause painful muscle contractions, stiffness, and spasms.

But you’re here because you want to know whether tetanus is fatal or not. Well, let’s dive into this topic with our lab coats on!

What Happens When You Get Infected with Tetanus?

The incubation period for tetanus is around 7 to 10 days after contracting the bacteria. However, it can range from as little as two days up to several weeks depending on various factors such as wound severity, immunity level of patient etc.

When somebody contracts Clostridium tetani by way of an open cut or puncture in their flesh (grimace), they may struggle with symptoms that are crippling:

  • Spasms all over your muscles like jaws (“lockjaw”), muscular distress throughout your physique another term,’rigidity’
  • Difficulty opening mouth (‘trismus’)
  • Painful muscle strain & tumescence
  • Fever
    Pro-tip: For those who have a fear of needles – look away now! A less known worry might be having too much iron in one’s blood? Turns out an Iron Pumping Injection is given supplementarily alongside antibiotics when someone has been afflicted with the heebie jeebies!

Basically speaking – it’s horrifically painful; imagine having multiple Charlie horses wrapping around your bones – fun right?

Can Tetanus Be Treated?

There isn’t any particular cure for “tetanicae dolor”, which essentially translates to ‘ouch my muscles hurt’ They’ll generally do everything possible from examination points upon arrival at hospital/clinic.
Medical professionals take measures such as cleaning out infected areas so that further intrusion doesn’t occur plus administering a booster jab of tetanus vaccine. Ensuring an environment with little external stimuli also helps. BONUS: since we ’re all about that ‘organic’ lifestyle, some folks take vitamin-c intravenously.
Pro-Tip: Prevention is always better than cure! Regular immunizations are recommended so if you haven’t had one recently, go for it champ!

How Deadly Is Tetanus?

While the survival rate has slowly stretched to 70%, the death rate statistic still screams at us particularly in underdeveloped nations:

  • 10% worldwide fatality; range dwindles between 20%-30% among senior citizens (60 years & up)
  • Lockjaw equates to a greater degree of dying 22%
  • Sepsis kills as much as approximately 5%

Factors That Affect Mortality Rate

There are several factors that can have an impact on how deadly tetanus is:

  1. Age: As mentioned, people over age of sixty typically face higher mortality rates due to organelles essentially decreasing and their supreme immunity breaking down
  2. The severity of wound/cut : Obviously severity would play an important role regardless of ones physical stature , but smaller depths have a more hopeful outlook _ generally speaking_, compared to open wounds or heavy gashes relatedly.
  3. Willingness toward receiving medical care quicker rather than later
  4. Immunization history against tetanus

It’s essential that those who strongly feel any symptoms associated in relation may reach out towards gaining attention towards healing properly further realization.

Potential Complications

The ailment’s muscle cramping leads way into the greatest possible problem areas regarding beating around bush:

1) Respiratory Failure:

If your diaphragm muscles – amongst all other muscles—–are affected by tetanic spasms and rigidity/stiffness , breathing patterns will be severely limited this then metamorphoses into respiratory collapse altogether which might result in irreparable/critical damage or no Breath afterwards.

2) Cardiac Arrest:

Due to the rapid nature of tetanic spasms and rigidity/stiffness, pressure on one’s chest can occur. The increased load on your heart can therefore cause cardiac arrest, which is where blood flow stops altogether.
Pro-Tip: If those affected have in-house caregivers with them during recovery will help a lot since It may be difficult for just any casual bystander to resuscitate someone who goes into full-blown cardiopulmonary failure from tetanus.

3) Infection From Wound Cells

Of course by now you’re aware that C.tetani is an opportunistic bacteria that sneaks their way through open lacerations- what happens if it actually starts reproduce cells ? Often times another related disorder (sepsis), arises from this become grim indications towards death accumulating large amounts of bacterial cells and toxins inside patient’s body vessels.

How Can You Prevent Tetanus?

I already mentioned earlier but; consistent vaccinations are mandatory – especially whenever vulnerable situations arise inclusive activities such as:

  • Gardening
  • Home renovation conflicts
  • Working Construction / manual labor work eg roofing etc.

But besides immunization, “Prevention” revolves around good sanitary practices like :

a-cleaning wounds right after getting injured
b-not putting dirty hands on open cuts weeping fluids/oozing pus etc.,
No matter how trivial these tasks might seem – trust me , they are pertinent matters .
One more additional suggestion would include taking care when inspecting statues and rusty materials . Plenty people get their fingers sliced all day because of being careless!

When To See A Doctor?

The rule-of-thumb says you should see professional medical intervention if in case an injury has taken place meaning severe pain along with fitting into any category worth noting down below :

  • Open wound plus dirt accumulation
  • Irregular fever & sweating
  • Trouble swallowing, speaking or chewing food!
  • Obscure muscle pain/spasms + joint stiffness
    Pro-tip: If your jaw muscles have already clenched close and you can’t open your mouth- your best bet is to visit the emergency room STAT.


Tetanus isn’t a joke! It might not be as rare/stigmatized as “Seagal”, but that shouldn’t mean we ignore it . Tetanus can kill people especially when left untreated – until after rigor mortis has taken effect. Lol!

Away from jokes now; sporadic attacks may happen anywhere, any time without prior warnings therefore being aware and taking precautions e.g., getting vaccinated on time , maintaining cleanliness alongside general hygiene etc – is how we avoid potential consequences in future.


  1. Tetanus results from contact with Clostridium tetani bacteria which causes serious muscular relaxation annoyance and spasms
  2. Efforts are made within clinics \ hospitals to minimize damage (they move very slowly though) , rather than cure altogether since there’s no known proper vaccine against tetanic horrors.
  3. Being prepared by looking after hygiene/ sanitation along with basic precautions inclusive vaccinations help keep risk prone situations at bay.
  4. Always reach out for medical intervention if one displays iconic inflammation signs anywhere around the body.
  5. Embrace (or isvbn;t despise?) needles! Vaccines hurt less than ending up waiting for muscular failure followed by cardiac arrest-can confirm!

‘Bond James Bond‘ 🍸