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How Often Do I Need a Tetanus Booster Shot?

tetanus booster shot, singh family medical clinic

As summer draws closer, we can look forward to warmer days and general delight. Yet there’s always the chance of stepping on a rusty nail or falling and getting wounded. With those events comes the potential for tetanus.

Tetanus might not be very common, but it is a serious disease. Although you can vaccinate against tetanus, it isn’t a case of one and done.

First, you receive a series of vaccines, often combined with others, to protect against other diseases. It’s recommended, however, that you get booster shots throughout your lifetime, too.

The team at Singh Family Medical Clinic share the importance of a tetanus booster shot.

What you need to know about tetanus

You might have heard of tetanus as “lockjaw.” It’s a disease caused by a poison that attacks your nervous system. The toxin enters your body through open wounds and cuts, no matter how small a scratch may be.

Tetanus bacteria can be found in pretty much every corner of the globe, most commonly in dust and soil. It’s important to know that you cannot transmit tetanus from one person to another.

Getting your first tetanus shot

Most people get their first shot when they’re children. The vaccine in the shot is called DTaP, and it works to protect you against whooping cough, diphtheria, and tetanus.

If you didn’t receive the scheduled series of shots as a child, you might be given a three-shot series of the vaccine. One shot is the new Tdap adult vaccine, and the other two are the Td vaccine, which protects you against diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus.

Keeping up your defenses

A once-off vaccine is not enough, though. You need to get a booster shot at least every 10 years.

If you’ve never received the Tdap vaccine, Ravinderjit Singh, MD, will advise if you should get that, too. Any booster shots you receive after the first Tdap will then contain the Td vaccine.

Why you need booster shots

Your first tetanus shot doesn’t give you lifelong immunity. Protection actually starts to dwindle after a decade, which is why we recommend a booster every 10 years or earlier if you’ve been exposed to any type of tetanus-causing spores.

If you do find yourself with a puncture wound or cut, it’s important to check when you last had a booster shot. If it’s been more than five years or you can’t remember when you last received a tetanus booster shot, you should get another shot as quickly as you can after the injury.

This is especially important if your wound involves rusty metal or soil or if the wound gets dirty. If possible, you should try to get your tetanus shot the same day. Bacteria can grow incredibly fast when trapped in a wound, creating poison in those who are not vaccinated.

Treating tetanus

If you’re unlucky enough to get tetanus, there is no cure. However, you can manage your symptoms with the help of sedatives. Most treatments involve reducing exposure to bacteria-producing toxins, and to do this, you will need to:

Tetanus can be a deadly disease, but you can prevent it by keeping up with your schedule of vaccines and getting a tetanus booster shot every 10 years.

If you suspect you’ve been exposed to the poison, it’s important to seek immediate medical help. Dr. Singh may recommend a booster following your injury.

If it’s time for you get your tetanus booster, book an appointment online at Singh Family Medical Clinic in Bakersfield today.

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