The Importance Of Getting Tetanus Shots Every 10 Years

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If you can remember anything about your last tetanus shot, your memories are probably the thing stopping you from getting another one. Tetanus shots hurt and leave your body sore for days, and this is one of the main reasons many people do not get them every 10 years as recommended. What you may not realize, though, is that getting tetanus shots is important. These shots protect you and could help you prevent getting tetanus–a major infection that can lead to death.

What Is Tetanus?

A tetanus shot protects you against tetanus, which is also called lockjaw. Tetanus is a bacterial infection that can cause problems with the nerves and muscles in the body. It often begins with muscle spasms, but it will worsen and begin to cause severe pain all throughout the body. If it is not treated, it could lead to death.

The problem with this infection is that it can be relatively easy to acquire. This is because the bacteria that causes tetanus, Clostridium tetani, is found in soil and dust. Soil and dust are things that almost everyone is exposed to, but you cannot acquire the condition by breathing it in. The bacteria must get into your body through an open wound of some kind.

Acquiring tetanus is most commonly known from times when people step on rusty nails. It is not the rust that causes the condition, though; it is the bacteria that is found on the nail.

Is Tetanus Treatable?

Tetanus itself can be treated, and you should realize that it is not a contagious condition. In other words, if you acquire this infection, you cannot spread it to someone else, but you will need to have it treated. The problem with having tetanus is that there is a short window available for treatment.

If you believe you are exposed to tetanus, you should seek help from a medical clinic quickly. For example, if you step on a rusty nail, go to the doctor. You might not experience any symptoms right away, but you should still seek help. Tetanus has an incubation period that averages around 14 days. This means it could be living in your body for up to 14 days before you experience any symptoms.

Getting treatment during this time is the best way to stop the infection from spreading and causing harm in your body. The longer you wait to get help, the harder it may be to treat it. In most cases, doctors will treat this with antibiotics, and this usually removes the infection.

If the infection is not treated right away, it will have time to spread. The person may need long-term treatment for the tetanus, and the person's chances of dying from it greatly increase. While most people can survive after this, according to Medline Plus, approximately 1 in 4 people die from this if they are not treated. When treated in a timely manner, there is almost a 100% survival rate.

What If you Can't Remember When Your Last Shot Was?

While experts recommend getting a tetanus shot every 10 years, it probably will not hurt you if you get one sooner than necessary. It's not a good idea to get tetanus shots yearly, but it is also not good to wait longer than 10 years. In other words, if you can't remember when you got one, it's probably been long enough that getting another one will not hurt you.

Immunizations are designed to protect you from harmful diseases and infections, and you should consider getting a tetanus shot if you have not had one recently. You can do this by visiting a medical clinic, and just remember that once you get one, you will be protected for 10 years.

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30 April 2015

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