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When Do I Need a Tetanus Vaccine?

Tetanus is a medical condition that results in the contraction of skeletal muscles for an extended period of time. It is caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani, which releases a neurotoxin. Usually, the infection is due to a wound or a cut on the skin, through which the bacteria enters the body. The worse the infection gets, the worse the muscular contractions and spasms become as well.

Fortunately, tetanus can be avoided by getting tetanus vaccine. The rule of thumb is that the average person should get tetanus shots every 10 years. However, if you encounter an accident and you get a deep puncture wound, or you get a wound that is exposed to dirt or rust, your doctor will probably suggest that you get a tetanus shot if your last shot was more than five years ago. This is a precautionary measure and is highly recommended as the risk of contracting tetanus is very high. Since a tetanus vaccine has practically zero risk associated with it, there is no reason not to get one, even if it hasn’t been 10 years since your last shot.

The first administration of the tetanus vaccination requires a series of shots because of the fact that the vaccine is considered to be a “killed vaccine” or a toxoid. This means that the vaccine does not contain live bacteria. The result is that the vaccine wears off over time. This is also the reason that one has to have tetanus shots every 10 years.

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