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Tetanus, tetanus, clostridium tetani,
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Tetanus

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INFECTIOUS DISEASE

Bacterial

Prevention

You can easily prevent tetanus simply by being immunized against the infection. Almost all cases of tetanus occur in people who've never been immunized or who haven't had a tetanus booster shot within the preceding 10 years.

The tetanus vaccine usually is given to children as part of the diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis (DTP) shot. This shot provides protection against three diseases: diphtheria (a throat and respiratory infection), pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus. The latest version of this immunization is known as the diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DtaP) vaccine.

The DTaP vaccine consists of a series of five shots, typically administered in the arm and given to children at ages:

  • 2 months

  • 4 months

  • 6 months

  • 15 to 18 months

  • 4 to 6 years

Adults should receive a routine tetanus booster shot every 10 years. If you're traveling internationally, make sure you have an up-to-date immunity against tetanus. If you receive a wound and it has been more than 5 years since your last booster shot, get another booster shot. A booster of the tetanus vaccine is typically given in combination with a booster of diphtheria vaccine and is called the tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, adult type (Td) vaccine.

Having had a tetanus infection doesn't provide immunity. Following recommendations for vaccinations is necessary to prevent recurrence of tetanus. If you were never vaccinated against tetanus as a child, see your doctor about getting the Td vaccine. You cannot get tetanus from the vaccine.

If you have a wound, these steps will help prevent you from contracting tetanus:

  • Keep the wound clean. Rinse with clean water. Clean the area around the wound with soap and a washcloth. Remove any dirt or debris with clean tweezers. If debris is embedded in a wound, see your doctor. Hydrogen peroxide, iodine or an iodine-containing cleanser may be used to clean around a wound. But don't use these cleansers on the wound itself because they irritate the area of the wound. 

  • Consider the source. Puncture wounds or other deep cuts, animal bites or particularly dirty wounds put you at increased risk of tetanus infection. Call your doctor if the wound is deep and dirty, and particularly if you're unsure of your immunization status. Your doctor may need to clean the wound, prescribe an antibiotic and give you a booster shot of the tetanus toxoid vaccine. If you've previously been immunized, your body should quickly make the needed antibodies to protect you against tetanus.

  • Use an antibiotic. After you clean the wound, apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream or ointment, such as the multi-ingredient antibiotics Neosporin or Polysporin. These antibiotics won't make the wound heal faster, but they can discourage bacterial growth and infection and allow your body to close the wound more efficiently. Certain ingredients in some ointments can cause a mild rash in some people. If a rash appears, stop using the ointment.

  • Cover the wound. Exposure to the air will speed healing, but bandages can help keep the wound clean and keep harmful bacteria out. Blisters that are draining are vulnerable and should be covered until a scab forms.

  • Change the dressing. Applying a new dressing at least once a day or whenever the dressing becomes wet or dirty may help prevent infection. If you're allergic to the adhesive used in most bandages, switch to adhesive-free dressings or sterile gauze and paper tape.

 

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 


 



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