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Diagnosis and Treatment

Doctors can diagnose tetanus by examining the patient and looking for certain signs and symptoms. There are no hospital lab tests that can confirm tetanus.

Tetanus is a medical emergency requiring:

  • Hospitalization
  • Immediate treatment with human tetanus immune globulin (TIG) (or equine antitoxin)
  • Tetanus vaccine
  • Drugs to control muscle spasms
  • Aggressive wound care
  • Antibiotics

Depending on how severe the infection is, a machine to help you breathe may be required. A tetanus vaccine should be given along with treatment.