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Tetanus: symptoms, treatment and prevention

Stolbnyak Tetanus is classified in medicine as an acute infectious disease, which has a contact mechanism for the transmission of the pathogen.The causative agent of the disease in question is a tetanus stick that can penetrate the human body through damage to the skin( for example, puncture, wound, burn, etc.).

Tetanus sticks, leading their life in the human body, secrete toxins.They are real biological poisons and associated with the manifestation of the disease.Speaking of tetanus briefly, it is characterized by the defeat of the central nervous system, manifested by general convulsions and pronounced muscle tension.

Table of contents:

Forms of tetanus

In medicine, the conditional division of the considered disease into forms is accepted, the definition of each of them depends on the severity of the course of tetanus.

Light form

Stolbnyak Symptoms of tetanus appear and progress for 5-6 days, while body temperature remains within normal limits or slightly increases.The patient has a difficult opening of the oral cavity( trismus), a strain of mimic muscles( a "sardonic smile"), but all this is expressed moderately.

Moderately severe form

Signs of the disease are actively progressing within 3-4 days, the patient is concerned with convulsions that can occur several times a day.With all this, the body temperature in a patient with tetanus rises, but never becomes critically high.

Severe form

Symptoms of tetanus progress rapidly and manifest themselves in full force already in the first 2 days after infection.The patient has a pronounced violation of swallowing, muscle tone, breathing and facial expressions, several times per hour he is seized by convulsions( they are always intense).In the course of tetanus with severe form, the patient has palpitations, marked sweating and an increase in temperature up to 40 degrees.


Very heavy form

It is characterized by:

  • by a rapid increase in the signs of pathology;
  • with almost constant cramps( several times within 3-5 minutes);
  • hyperthermia, with, with critical indicators( 40 degrees and above);
  • heart palpitations;
  • marked by shortness of breath;
  • with cyanotic skin;
  • threat of respiratory arrest.

There is one more variant of division of a considered disease on forms - on a way of penetration of a tetanus bacillus in an organism. The division looks as follows:

  • tetanus traumatic, when the causative agent enters the human body in traumatic injuries of the skin;
  • is a tetanus that is the result of inflammatory and skin-damaging processes - for example, if infection occurs in the wound with skin damage due to a particular disease;
  • tetanus of unknown etiology, when it is impossible to determine the path of infection.

There are several other forms of the disease under consideration:

  1. Local tetanus.It occurs very rarely in medical practice, it is more often diagnosed in previously vaccinated patients.For him, local disturbances will be characteristic - spasm and light muscle twitching at the wound site, a slight increase in temperature( or body temperature remains within normal limits), absence of general seizures.Local tetanus, without proper medical attention, often develops into a common form of the disease.
  2. Head tetanus to the rose.This is one of the varieties of local tetanus, too, is diagnosed extremely rarely and is more common when a head or face is injured.The classic manifestations of this type of tetanus are:
    • obstructed opening of the mouth( trismus);
    • signs of cranial nerve damage;
    • "sardonic smile";
    • tension of the occipital muscles.
  3. The head tetanus of Brunner.This is a very serious form of the disease under consideration, in which there are defeats of the muscles of the face, neck and throat - the nerves that regulate the activity of all internal organs cease to function normally, the nerve centers that are "responsible" for the activity of the respiratory system are adversely affected.The prognosis of this form of tetanus is extremely disappointing.
  4. Newborn tetanus.Infection occurs when a tetanus sticks through the umbilical wound.The general manifestations of the disease will not differ from the symptoms characteristic of adult patients.There are local changes in the umbilical wound - it becomes wet, acquires a pronounced red color, from it purulent contents can be allocated.

Reasons for the development of tetanus

It is well known that the mechanism of transmission of the pathogen is mechanical, that is, the tetanus can penetrate the human body only through damage to the skin.The greatest danger is profound damage to the skin and mucous membranes, punctures, since all the vital activity of the tetanus bacillus( growth, reproduction) occurs without access to air.

Infection with tetanus

Infection can also occur if the rules of asepsis and antiseptics are not respected - for example, during any medical procedures or surgical interventions.

Classic tetanus symptoms

For the initial tetanus period, the following symptoms will be characteristic:

  • blunt pulling pain in a place where the wound has been infiltrated;
  • convulsive contraction, or a powerful spasm of the chewing muscles, which leads to the inability to open the mouth;
  • excessive tension of facial muscles, which is manifested by a "sardonic smile": wrinkled forehead, stretched lips, narrowed eyes, lowered corners of the mouth;
  • convulsive spasm of the muscles of the pharynx, which leads to difficulty swallowing.

Note : it is the combination of "sardonic smile", difficulty swallowing and difficulty in opening the mouth is a sign of tetanus, for no other pathologies such a "trio" is not typical.


If the disease is already actively progressing, then it will have very different symptoms:

  • muscle tension of the extremities and trunk, which is characterized by intense pain, but does not capture the hands and feet;
  • absence of muscle relaxation in sleep;
  • clearly outlines the contours of large musculature, especially seen clearly in men;
  • on day 4 of the disease, the abdominal muscles become excessively hard, the lower limbs are usually elongated by this time, and their movements are severely limited;
  • respiratory system works with impairments, which is characterized by superficial and rapid breathing;
  • is difficult to defecate( emptying the rectum), because the muscles of the perineum are very tight;
  • practically does not drain urine;
  • when the patient is on the back, his head is thrown back as much as possible, the lumbar part of the body is raised above the bed - opisthotonus;
  • suddenly develops convulsions, which can last from a few seconds to tens of minutes;
  • patient emits strong cries and moans due to intense pain syndrome;
  • body temperature is high, there is increased sweating and copious salivation.

Diagnostic measures

In general, tetanus is diagnosed only when the patient is examined - the symptoms of this disease are too typical.After the diagnosis is made, the doctor necessarily carries out an epidemiological history - when and how the infection got into the body, if there are wounds, what has been applied and how long it has been received, is there any chance of getting into the wound of soil, glass or rust.

Laboratory tests of the patient's blood make it possible to isolate the tetanus bacillus.

Treatment of tetanus

There is a clear algorithm of actions for diagnosing tetanus:

  1. Stolbnyak The patient is treated only in the inpatient department of the .
  2. It is necessary to start therapy as soon as possible from the moment of diagnosis of the disease in question.
  3. If there is a wound, it must be cleaned of dead tissue, foreign bodies and contaminants.Even if the wound has already healed, it is opened and thoroughly examined.
  4. The area around the wound is chipped with a specific tetanus antiserum, , which significantly reduces the activity of toxins in the body.
  5. Administer tetanus antitetanus and intramuscularly to relieve toxins in the bloodstream.But surely before the introduction of such a vaccine, the patient is allergic, and after the introduction of serum, the patient's condition is observed for 1 hour.
  6. Prescribe and inject anticonvulsants.
  7. It is necessary to exclude possible factors that provoke another convulsive attack - for example, bright light, touching the body, loud sounds.

In addition, often doctors immediately prescribe a course of antibacterial drugs, which helps prevent the development of inflammatory processes directly at the site of infection and in the lungs.Feed the patients through a special probe, or by injecting nutrients into the vein.

Traditional medicine in the treatment of tetanus

Immediately warn: in no case can you ignore the signs of the disease in question and trust the recipes from the category of "traditional medicine"!You must first get qualified medical care, and only then, in the recovery period, you can apply and folk recipes.

Means for ingestion

  • Stolbnyak It is necessary to take 1/3 of a teaspoon of dry goose eye with goose and boil them for 3 minutes in a glass( 250-300 ml) of milk.Then you need to insist the remedy for 20 minutes, strain and in a warm form take 50 ml three times a day.
  • Pour 200 ml of boiling water 20 grams of prickly leaves of the Tartar and insist for 24 hours.Take 3-4 times a day for 1 tablespoon.
  • Prepare half a glass of lime flowers, pour 300 ml of boiling water and insist for half an hour.Then the infusion is filtered and taken 1 tablespoon three times a day.
  • Peppermint in the amount of 1 teaspoon brewed like regular tea, insist 10-15 minutes.Take two tablespoons 4 times a day for half an hour before meals.
  • On a glass of boiling water put two teaspoons of dried Artemisia vulgaris and insist 20 minutes.In a day you need to drink 2 cups of the obtained product.
  • Mix in equal parts fruit of fennel, cumin fruit, hops, lavender flowers, shoots of valerian, add 2 parts of Leonurus's herb to the mixture and mix thoroughly.Now pour all the boiling water at a rate of 1 tablespoon of collection per 200 ml of water and insist for half an hour.

Baths in the recovery period after tetanus

Baths with the addition of medicinal plants will be very effective.You can make a chamomile bath - half a kilogram of flowers are poured with water so that the raw material is completely covered, boiled for 10 minutes and added to a warm bath.Pine baths also have a good effect, for which pine cones and pine branches need to be poured with water in the proportion of 500 grams of raw materials per liter of water, boil for 10 minutes and infuse with a towel, 12 hours.To take one bath you will need a half liter of ready-made folk remedy.

Note: after the tetanus is transferred, the patient is always observed with his doctor.Ask for advice to this specialist about the appropriateness of using folk remedies.

Possible complications of tetanus

The disease is serious enough, it poses a danger to all human systems and organs. It is not surprising that some complications may develop:

  • bronchitis;
  • pneumonia with pulmonary edema;
  • infarction;
  • formation of thrombi in large and small blood vessels;
  • injury to bones, joints and muscle tissue at the time of seizures;
  • vertebral fracture;
  • ruptures and muscle detachments from the spine;
  • impairment of mobility of muscles and joints;
  • changing the shape and bends of the spine;
  • complete or partial loss of nerve conduction in selected areas of the body.

Preventive measures

Vaccination calendar

There are two types of tetanus prophylaxis:

  1. Nonspecific prevention.It consists in the prevention of injuries and injuries of the skin in the home and in the workplace, the correct processing of the operating units to prevent infection during surgical interventions.It also implies thorough surgical treatment of wounds.
  2. Specific prevention.The planned introduction of vaccinations is being carried out, which allows the body to rapidly develop substances against toxins - this will be a response to the repeated administration of toxoids.

In addition, emergency prophylaxis is carried out in all injuries and injuries in which the probability of infection with a tetanus stick is too high. Emergency prevention includes:

  • primary wound treatment by a physician;
  • carrying out specific immunoprophylaxis.

Please note: immunity against tetanus is not produced, so emergency prevention is carried out every time you enter the trauma department.

Tetanus is a dangerous disease that is a threat to human life.Only qualified medical care increases the chances of rescuing the patient.

Tsygankova Yana Aleksandrovna, medical reviewer, therapeutist of the highest qualification category

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