Tetanus is a disease caused by Clostridium tetani, a type of bacteria found worldwide in dust, soil, and manure. The bacteria enter the body through a wound, which may include a cut, puncture wound, deep scrape or burn, or any injury that breaks the skin. They produce a toxin that affects the nervous system and causes seizures and severe muscle spasms. Tetanus cannot be spread from one person to another. Nearly all tetanus cases occur in people who have not been vaccinated, or in adults who have not received a 10-year booster tetanus shot.
Tetanus Vaccine For All Ages
Tetanus vaccination is included as part of the U.S. Recommended Immunization Schedule for children. Infants and children receive the DTaP vaccine, a combination vaccine that immunizes against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Preteens and teens should receive tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine, which is a booster shot that provides continued protection against tetanus. During adulthood, a tetanus-diphtheria booster (Td) is recommended for protection against both tetanus and diphtheria. CDC also recommends one dose of Tdap for adults who have never received it. If you’re traveling internationally, particularly to a developing country where tetanus might be common, make sure your immunity is current as well.
When to Seek Medical Care
You should seek immediate medical care if you experience any of :
A wound that is deep, such as a knife wound or animal bite.
A wound that contains dirt or a foreign object.
You have a wound and have not been fully vaccinated against tetanus, or you’re unsure whether you have been fully vaccinated against tetanus.
You have a wound and haven’t received a tetanus booster in the last 10 years.
Note that you should seek immediate medical attention at a higher level of care – from an ER or primary care physician — if you have a deep or dirty wound, even if you’ve been fully vaccinated against tetanus. In emergency cases, the primary care physician can administer medication that contains antibodies that kill tetanus.
Get Vaccinated at Sugarland Physicians
To get up-to-date on your tetanus vaccination or if you’re unsure when to get a tetanus shot, visit your nearest Sugarland Physicians health clinic. We offer a complete range of immunizations for individuals age 18 months and older. Sugarland Physicians accepts same day online appointments and walk-in visits for your convenience.