When Does A Person Need A Tetanus Shot?

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There are many different vaccines available that help us from getting serious and potentially life-threatening diseases and infections. At University Urgent Care in Fort Worth, TX, we offer the TdaP vaccine (the tetanus shot) to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, also known as whooping cough. According to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the TdaP and Td vaccines help lower incidences of tetanus and diphtheria by 99%, and pertussis by about 80%. Our experienced team at our urgent care center can help you decide when and why you need a tetanus shot based on your medical history and any risk factors you have before giving you your shot.

What causes tetanus bacteria?

Tetanus is caused by a bacterial infection that gets into a wound through a break in the skin or mucous membrane. This can be a cut, puncture wound, deep scrape, deep burn, or any injury that breaks the skin. The bacteria make a toxin that causes severe muscle spasms and, in severe cases, seizures. Also called lockjaw, tetanus can cause muscle tightness or spasms in the jaw, making it hard to open the mouth. This also makes it hard to swallow or even breathe. Tetanus can be very dangerous and, in severe cases, can cause death. The best prevention tip is to have a tetanus shot.

What is a tetanus shot?

The TdaP vaccine, a tetanus shot, protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis by creating a response in a patient’s immune system that helps prevent the bacteria from spreading if it does enter the body. The Td booster is given every ten years, but it only will protect against tetanus and diphtheria.

When to get a tetanus shot

To decide if you need a tetanus shot, first decide if the object that caused the wound was clean or dirty. If an object is dirty, it will have dirt, soil, spit, or feces on it.

You will need a tetanus shot if:

  • Your wound was caused by something that was dirty, and you haven’t had a tetanus shot in over five years

  • You aren’t sure if your wound was caused by something clean or dirty and your last tetanus shot was longer than five years ago

  • You did not get the first series of tetanus shots (primary vaccination series)

Ideally, the TdaP vaccine should be given initially in several doses: two, four, and six months after birth. Another dose should be given when the baby is between 15 – 18 months old, 4 – 6 years old, and at 11 – 12 years of age. Starting at age 19, you should get a Td booster shot every ten years. Women who are pregnant should get a TdaP vaccine during their third trimester, so their baby has protection almost immediately after birth from whooping cough, which is common in newborns. If you need a tetanus shot, call University Urgent Care to schedule an appointment to get a tetanus shot in Fort Worth, TX.

What to expect when getting your shot

Patients who visit University Urgent Care for a tetanus shot first receive a physical exam to check their overall health. After discussing your medical history, including any previous vaccinations and allergies, we can determine if you are a candidate for the shot. If you are, we will administer the shot after sterilizing your skin at the injection site. After getting your tetanus shot, look for signs of an allergic reaction, including hives, swelling of the throat or face, trouble breathing, high fever, increased heart rate, dizziness, or weakness. Please understand these symptoms are rare, but it’s important to be aware of your health at all times.

How long does a tetanus shot last?

Adolescents and adults who haven’t ever had a tetanus-containing vaccine are recommended to receive three doses of tetanus-containing vaccine with at least four weeks between doses. Booster doses are conducted ten years and 20 years after the initial shot.

Protect your health with a tetanus shot

To ensure that you and your family are protected from the serious health problems caused by tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, schedule an appointment at University Urgent Care in Fort Worth, TX. Our skilled team can keep or get you on an immunization schedule with tetanus shots that is recommended by the CDC. We serve the Frisco Heights, Tanglewood, Paschal, and TCU neighborhood areas.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.