Tetanus is quite rare now due to injections that are given to combat it. During your lifetime immunization with vaccine consisting of five injections are all that are needed to protect you.
Tetanus is caused by bacteria (germs) that gets into the body through a cut possibly while gardening or through a bite from an animal.
If the cut or wound is deep you are at more risk of developing tetanus if it gets dirty with soil or manure, even a thorn prick can allow bacteria to get into your body it then releases a poison that causes tetanus.
The first signs that you have tetanus are a spasm of the muscles closest to the infected cut. But once the poison gets into your bloodstream then other symptoms start to occur, usually in the face. Spasms of the chewing muscles occur which make it hard to open your mouth, following those spasms in the throat muscles make it hard to swallow. This can be followed by spasms in the facial muscles which give you the look of grinning. Breathing can become difficult as the spasms spread to other parts of the body, Other symptoms include extreme sensitivity to touch, high fever, sore throat, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, headache, bleeding into the bowels, and diarrhoea.
If untreated tetanus causes death in about 60% of people..
The only way to prevent tetanus is to be immunised. A full course of tetanus immunisation consists of five doses of vaccine. This vaccine enables your body to create antibodies against the tetanus toxin, which then protects you from the illness if you were to become infected with the bacteria.
A more common name for tetanus is lockjaw.