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When do tetanus symptoms show up after an injury?

Tetanus symptoms usually show up 4 to 21 days after you've been infected with the bacteria that cause the infection. Most commonly, symptoms start after about 10 days.

What are the symptoms of tetanus?

The main symptoms of tetanus are:

  • muscle stiffness, usually starting in the jaw and neck
  • muscle spasms (involuntary contractions)

You should immediately go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department or call 999 for an ambulance if you develop severe muscle stiffness or spasms.

Read more about tetanus, including how it is treated, how you get it and tetanus vaccination.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 02/09/2016

Next review due: 02/09/2019