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help prevent tetanus by having all of the suggested tetanus shots (immunizations).
There are three different types of tetanus shots.
Tetanus is a
disease caused by a
bacterial infection. The tetanus bacteria get in a
wound through a break in the skin or mucous membrane. A cut, puncture wound,
deep scrape, deep burn, or any injury that breaks the skin or mucous membrane
are called wounds.
The bacteria make a toxin, or poison, that
causes severe muscle spasms and seizures. Tetanus is also called "lockjaw"
because muscle spasms in your jaw make it hard to open your mouth. This makes
it hard to swallow or breathe. Tetanus can be very dangerous and can cause
death. The best way to prevent the disease is to have a tetanus shot.
if you need a tetanus shot after a wound, first decide if the object that caused the wound
was dirty or clean. An object is dirty if it has dirt, soil, spit, or feces on
it. A clean object does not have dirt, soil, spit, or feces on it.
You will need a tetanus shot if:
If you need a tetanus shot, call your doctor to arrange for
Some people may need tetanus
immunoglobulin (IG) for a wound that is at high risk
for developing tetanus. The immunoglobulin is usually only needed if you have
not (or do not know if you have) completed the tetanus primary vaccination
If you have a reaction to a tetanus shot, your symptoms may include
warmth, swelling, redness at the site where the shot was given or a fever.
Home treatment can help reduce the discomfort.
Current as of:
August 14, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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