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When Was Your Last Tetanus Shot Taken?

Most of us ignore small wounds and scratches thinking we have taken a tetanus shot sometime in our childhood. Wake up, the vaccination shot given to you in your childhood will not protect you ten years later. In fact, you need to get tetanus booster shots every ten years to keep yourself protected.

Is Tetanus A Serious Disorder?

The trouble is that we perceive tetanus as a common disease that is not threatening. But ask someone who has been through a 'lock jaw' (the popular street name for Tetanus) and they will tell you it is not minor at all. The muscular spasms in Tetanus can be local (around the face or jaw) or in the whole body. You will be surprised to know that almost 30 per cent of such cases results in death! The tetanus shot vaccination was developed around the Second World War and has controlled the fatality up to a large extent. But it is not an extinct disease like small pox.

How Does It Happen?

Tetanus is a disease that happens due to the bacteria Clostridium tetani. This bacteria can be found everywhere around us, in mud, rusted metals etc. So any uncleaned wound can allow it to enter your body easily. Especially if you cut yourself with a rusted metal or met an accident where you have rolled in dirt, there are more chances of you getting affected by this bacteria. Vaccination for adults is mandatory too.

When Do You Need A Tetanus Shot?

  • Small children are given this vaccine as a part of their immunization schedule. Kids are given the DTP which protects against Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis.
  • A Tetanus Booster is given to kids of about 10 to 12 years to boost the immunity of the previous vaccinations.
  • The thing with tetanus shots is that they do not last beyond ten years. In some cases, the life of this adult vaccine is only 5 years. It depends on your body weight and general health.
  • Adults need vaccination to protect against this disease. Ideally, a tetanus booster shot must be taken every 10 years.
  • The effects of tetanus (mainly muscular spasms) can take anything between 48 hours to a week to manifest themselves.
  • This adult vaccination must be taken within 24 hours of the injury.

So, if you cannot remember when your last tetanus shot was taken, then you better take one now.

Read more about: vaccination wellness health
Story first published: Thursday, April 19, 2012, 15:07 [IST]
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