View Full Version : How likely to be Tetanus?

04-03-2014, 06:53 PM

Recently, I had too much to drink (no this is not common at all) and I don't know if it's because I am going through a lot of stress or what but I did something I am very ashamed of that hasn't been an issue for me since I was a teen (and even then, only a little) which was to cut myself with a knife. Because I have OCD even while drinking, I poured rubbing alcohol all over the knife and my leg but I now know this doesn't kill tetanus. I made quite a few very light cuts or scratches (barely pressed but it did draw a small amount of blood). Now, this pocketknife had recently gone through my washer and dryer by accident so it makes me feel the knife wasn't as clean as it might otherwise have been because before that, it was unused.

I have had two tetanus shots in the last 15 years, with the last one being exactly 5 years and 3 months prior to this incident.

The reason I am worried is because almost immediately, within a few hours, I experienced some twitches in that area (it's my upper thigh) and within the day started noticing light twitches all over my body off and on. These are not painful, very brief but do occur all day all over my body. This is has happened to me in the past (rarely) but the fact that the first one I noticed was around the injury and I was not having twitches (that I recall) before this does concern me. It has now been 12 days and the spasms have remained pretty stable and nothing is happening with my jaw (yet?) ...

I did not go into the doc because I had pretty recently had my shot, they were very shallow cuts, husband said knife should have been clean and thinks I am just being paranoid and I had a bad reaction to the tetanus shot the last time. Also, I called my primary doc and she said it would be very unlikely to cause me to have tetanus but I can't stop worrying.

Am I just being crazy or could these small twitches be early signs of tetanus?

04-03-2014, 09:50 PM
If you did have tetanus, and those twitches were related to it, you would be very sick indeed by now. Have you got fever? Stiffness in the limbs or body? Large spasms of the limbs or body? Tetanus gets into the body via a deep cut or stab, and the germ cannot take hole if the wound is open or shallow, it needs to be inserted deep into the tissue. Your wound is not deep enough to have tetanus without you noticing an infection in it. If you are worried, then you can always have another vaccination. Sera

04-07-2014, 07:19 PM
No, none of the other symptoms you mentioned. Tetanus can get into shallow wounds but it's more difficult from what I understand. I passed out and had trouble breathing and felt horrible for days after my last tetanus shot so I am not anxious to go in before I have to.

Thanks for the reply.

04-08-2014, 12:46 PM
I wouldn't be too worried. About 5 years ago we were building a fence and a broken board with a nail sticking out of it was laying on the ground and I stepped on it. So I went and cleaned the area and stayed off of my foot. By the next morning(about 14 hours later) I had a large red streak all the way to my knee. I went to urgent care, got a tetnus shot and 20 days of antibiotics with strict instructions on what to look out for and when to return to ER. Thankfully, the antibiotics worked. I have always heard that the red streak means get to doctor and get some help because to avoid tetnus and sepsis. I hope this helps. Allie