A child who does develop tetanus will be treated in a hospital, usually in the intensive care unit. There, the child typically receives antibiotics to kill bacteria and TIG to neutralize the toxin that the bacteria have already released.
- The wound must be cleaned.
- Dead and infected tissue should be removed by surgical debridement.
- Metronidazole treatment decreases the number of bacteria but has no effect on the bacterial toxin.
- Penicillin was once used to treat tetanus, but is no longer the treatment of choice because of a theoretical risk of increased spasms.
- Passive immunization with human anti-tetanospasmin immunoglobulin or tetanus immune globulin is crucial.