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By: Elena Jamscek PA-C

Everyone has probably heard of a tetanus shot or at least seen that Grey’s Anatomy episode where Joe thought she broke that guys arm just by trying to straighten it, so it should come at no surprise to you when I say tetanus is a big deal.  The CDC doesn’t recommend vaccines for things that aren’t a big deal!  As children we receive the TDap or DTap vaccines for school but after the last dose at 6-7 many of us stop thinking about it.  However, a tetanus shot is technically/medically needed every 5-7 years.

Also, since summertime is upon us and with more outdoor activities and bare feet we are at a high risk of injuries with rusty/dirty metals.  If you or a family sustain an injury involving a questionable metal please get a tetanus shot.

Tetanus causes extreme muscle contractures to the point your own muscles could break your bones which is what happened in Grey’s Anatomy.


Symptoms of tetanus include:

The first sign is most commonly spasms of the muscles of the jaw, or “lockjaw.”

  • Jaw cramping
  • Sudden, involuntary muscle tightening (muscle spasms) — often in the stomach
  • Painful muscle stiffness all over the body
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Jerking or staring (seizures)
  • Headache
  • Fever and sweating
  • Changes in blood pressure and heart rate


Serious health problems that can happen because of tetanus include:

  • Uncontrolled/involuntary tightening of the vocal cords (laryngospasm)
  • Broken bones (fractures)
  • Infections gotten by a patient during a hospital visit (hospital-acquired infections)
  • Blockage of the main artery of the lung or one of its branches by a blood clot that has travelled from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream (pulmonary embolism)
  • Pneumonia, a lung infection, that develops by breathing in foreign materials (aspiration pneumonia)
  • Breathing difficulty, possibly leading to death (1 to 2 in 10 cases are fatal)

Remember, in case you something happens and you need us or your tetanus shot we are here for you Monday through Saturday 8 am to 8 pm. We are conveniently located off the bypass in Jackson, TN at 147 North Star Dr. 731-554-0571. No appointment needed, we take walk-ins 😊