Call your doctor if you have questions regarding whether your tetanus immunization is current.
If you have a wound, you should seek medical attention. If you are not immunized or have not kept up your booster every 10 years, any open wound is at risk of developing tetanus.
Most doctors can care for minor wounds with mild degrees of contamination. In addition, most doctors maintain tetanus vaccines in their offices and can update anyone who is inadequately immunized. Call your doctor and follow his or her advice regarding whether or not you should seek treatment in a hospital's emergency department after an injury or wound.
If the wound is large, crushed, or heavily contaminated, you should go to the nearest hospital's emergency department for evaluation. Occasionally both a tetanus booster and tetanus antibodies are required if you have any wound that is tetanus-prone. Tetanus antibodies are reserved for people with incomplete immunizations with a tetanus-prone wound.
If you have a recent injury and are starting to complain of muscle cramps or spasms at or near the injury, you should go to a hospital’s emergency department.
If you have trouble swallowing or have muscle spasms in the facial muscles, go to the emergency department for treatment.
Any wound that results in a break in the skin should be cleaned with soap and running water.
All open wounds are at risk to get tetanus. Wounds from objects outdoors or crush injuries are at higher risk.
Apply a clean and dry cloth to stop or minimize bleeding.
Apply direct pressure to the site of bleeding to help minimize blood loss.
People who recover from tetanus have no long-lasting effects.
All partially immunized as well as unimmunized adults should receive a tetanus vaccination.
The initial series for adults involves 3 doses:
In children, the immunization schedule calls for 5 doses. Tetanus is included in a combination vaccine (DTaP) composed of vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough).
People who are not completely immunized who have a tetanus-prone wound should receive a tetanus booster in addition to tetanus antibodies. The tetanus antibodies will provide short-term protection against the disease.
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