Diagnosis and Treatment


Doctors can diagnose tetanus by asking about recent history of cuts, scrapes, punctures, and trauma, and examining someone for certain signs and symptoms. There are no hospital lab tests that can confirm tetanus.


Tetanus is a medical emergency requiring:

  • Evaluation and care in the hospital
  • Immediate treatment with medicine called human tetanus immune globulin (TIG)
  • Aggressive wound care
  • Drugs to control muscle spasms
  • Antibiotics
  • Tetanus vaccination

Depending on how serious the infection is, a machine may be required to help someone with tetanus breathe.