What is it?

Tetanus is a serious bacterial disease caused by the toxin of Clostridium tetani

Tetanus can interfere with your ability to breathe and it can be fatal

What are the symptoms?

Muscle spasms in the jaw, pain and stiffness in the muscles of the neck, shoulders, abdomen, arms and thighs

Complications can include permanent disability and death

After infection it normally takes about a week for symptoms to develop but onset can range from a few days to several weeks

How can I contract tetanus?

Any wound of any size that breaks the skin can result in a tetanus infection

This includes puncture wounds from splinters, animal bites, body piercings, tattoos, burns, surgical incisions, crush injuries and broken bones

Tetanus is not infectious and does not spread from person to person

Where can I contract it?

The c. tetani bacteria that causes tetanus is present worldwide

However, cases are mainly seen in developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America

What vaccines are available?

The tetanus vaccine

This vaccine is usually combined with diphtheria and pertussis (the TdaP vaccine)

It is also combined with other vaccines such as hepatitis B, polio or haemeophilus influenza type B vaccines given in early childhood

How many shots will I need?

If you received a tetanus vaccine in your early childhood you should have a booster every 10 years to maintain your immunity

Will I need a booster?

Yes

Adults should get a tetanus and diphtheria (Td) booster every 10 years

You cannot become immune to tetanus so you will need to get boosters even if you have had tetanus

How can I prevent tetanus?

Complete the childhood primary series with a tetanus-containing vaccine

Get a first booster during adolescence

Get a subsequent booster every 10 years

Additional shots of tetanus immunoglobulin may be required if you have a wound or injury that could cause tetanus

What is the treatment?

If you have a skin wound clean and dress it right away

This is especially important if you have a deep puncture wound that may be contaminated with feces, soil or saliva

There is no cure for tetanus

Tetanus infection often requires intensive, long-term supportive care and medications to ease symptoms

Patients usually receive sedatives to control their muscle spasms

Tetanus patients may also need antibiotics to fight the tetanus bacteria and an antitoxin such as tetanus immune globulin to neutralize tetanus toxin

"The Burnaby location has very nice staff that makes your less than fun stay much better (who likes being stuck by one or more needles). They give vaccinations for basically anything that you could need wile out travelling the world. "
Mike G - Yelp

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