Diagnosis and Treatment

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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:

  • 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 to help you breathe may be required.

Page last reviewed: February 28, 2019