The tetanus vaccine is good for 10 years but it’s usually OK to receive an extra booster of the tetanus vaccine. This is especially true if you’re being treated for an acute injury, such as a deep cut or puncture wound.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent tetanus — a serious disease caused by the Clostridium tetani bacteria-a toxin that affects the nervous system. Tetanus bacterial spores can enter your body through any cut or scratch. Man;s booted foot stepping on a nail

Certain breaks in the skin, however, are more likely to get infected with tetanus bacteria. These include:

  • Wounds contaminated with dirt, poop (feces), or spit (saliva)
  • Wounds caused by an object puncturing the skin (puncture wounds), like a stepping on a nail or getting poked by a needle
  • Burns
  • Crush injuries
  • Injuries with dead tissue

Symptoms of tetanus include:

  • Jaw cramping
  • Sudden, involuntary muscle tightening (muscle spasms) — often in the stomach
  • Painful muscle stiffness all over the body
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Jerking or staring (seizures)
  • Headache
  • Fever and sweating
  • Changes in blood pressure and a fast heart rate

Serious health problems that can happen because of tetanus include:

  • Uncontrolled/involuntary tightening of the vocal cords (laryngospasm)
  • Broken bones (fractures)
  • Infections gotten by a patient during a hospital visit (hospital-acquired infections)
  • Blockage of the main artery of the lung or one of its branches by a blood clot that has travelled from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream (pulmonary embolism)
  • Pneumonia, a lung infection, that develops by breathing in foreign materials (aspiration pneumonia)
  • Breathing difficulty, possibly leading to death (1 to 2 in 10 cases are fatal)

The Health Department has vaccines available that can help prevent and protect against tetanus, all of which are combined with vaccines for other diseases:

  • Tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccines
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccines

Tetanus vaccinations are available at the Health Department during clinic hours (M, W, F 8:00-4:00) with appointment or physician referral needed.  It is recommended, however, that you bring a copy of your immunization records with you prior to receiving the vaccine.

Cost for the Tetanus vaccine (100% out of pocket cost without insurance).

If you would like more information about the Tetanus vaccine, please call (660)665-8491.

Public Health