Discussions By Condition: Muscle conditions

Possibly Tetanus?

Posted In: Muscle conditions 2 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • April 23, 2007
  • 03:15 PM

Hey all,

I am a 25 year old male in generally good health. Last Wednesday afternoon in a college art class I jabbed myself with an exacto knife, that had primarily been primarily used to cut paper, plastic and aluminum cans for assorted projects. The exacto knife was not, as far as I could see, contaminated with anything usually associated with tentaus spores (manure/feces, soil or dust). I suffer from anxiety very badly so immediately I began to worry, since I hadn't had a tetanus shot in ten years. The wound didn't seem super deep and was pretty small but was near my thumb nail so it bled pretty badly, but I washed it thorougly with anti-bacterial soap and cold water, and applied a small amount of anti-septic/anti-biotic ointment to the wound right away and dressed it. The wound was kept clean and washed regularly.

The next day (Thursday), I noticed a strange sensation in my right arm, almost a feeling of tightness or soreness, and a weekness in my hand accompanied by a slight tingling. I had of course, like an idiot, been on the internet reading the symptoms of Tetanus the night before. I was unable to sleep all night, and suffered from extreme anxiety and the body sensations in my arm and neck, and first thing Friday morning went to the student health office at my school and got a Tetanus booster (I had read that if you hadn't had a shot in five years you should get one within 48 hours). I had the full TDAP sequence as a child, then I believe I had another tetanus shot at 6, and another at 16.

Since that time, I've been getting muscle weakness/fatigue, and acheyness, as well as soreness in my neck, but not the "lockjaw" typically associated with Tetanus. I read that at the very early initial stages, tetanus manifests itself as painless spasms in the jaw muscles and difficulty chewing/swallowing and even opening your mouth. Instead, I experience a marked soreness, almost severe tightness pressure that seems to originate in my ear and go down the left side of my neck and cheekbones. It is a very sore type of feeling, like a substantial amount of pressure were being applied. It seems to come and go throughout the day, but I am able to open my mouth fully and chew and eat normally.

Can anyone offer any insight, or am I just being paranoid? I've seen two different doctors who have reassured me just how rare this disease is, and considering the circumstances of my injury, how unlikely it is that I have it, but I have a hard time accepting this, and have been waking up in the middle of the night with severe anxiety and getting the shakes (which my doctor is confident are a result of anxiety). If anyone has any knowledge of or experience with this illness and could give me some insight it would be very much appreciated. I honestly can't stop worrying and knowing that there's no lab test that can be done isn't making my worrying any better.

Thanks in advance,


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2 Replies:

  • Your anxiety could definately be causing some of the problems, but I don't understand what's up with the doctors- usually when someone gets stabbed with a piece of metal be it a nail or in this case, a knife, they will give a tetnaus booster (if the patient hasn't had one recently). I suggest going to another doctor and telling them the object may have been a bit rusty.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Well Justin, thats just STUNNING to me - I have had "soreness and achyness", and even bad muscle cramps , for 25 years now, but have had no real diagnosis, other than "Fibromyalgia". ... and ya, it did start about the time I got a Tetanus booster shot after being badly cut with a dirty object. I also had an episode with a bad headache , and the doc did a spinal tap which didn't heal right and I had to lay down for 3 weeks. Not that the lack of healing is it, but just that maybe there was some meningus bugs . No follow up. How are you now? Has anyone looked into the booster shot as the possible problem? That might be being covered up eh....
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
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