Why you and your family should get vaccinated
Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is an infection caused by dangerous bacteria that affect the brain and nervous system. These bacteria are found worldwide in the soil and in human and animal feces. Infection occurs when the tetanus bacteria enter a wound and can cause serious symptoms such as tightness or uncontrollable spasms of the muscles in the neck and jaw, difficulty swallowing and painful and involuntary spasms of other muscles throughout the body. Tetanus is a very serious infection that requires immediate care and hospitalization and, if not treated promptly, could result in death.
The good news is that tetanus is completely preventable. Staying up to date on your regular tetanus vaccine schedule will prevent you from suffering the symptoms of this bacterial infection and will keep you in good health.
How does the tetanus vaccine work?
The tetanus vaccine is usually injected into the muscle of your upper arm. It works by exposing your body to a very small amount of tetanus bacteria, which allow your body to build up a natural immunity and will prevent you from becoming ill if exposed to the bacteria in the future. The tetanus vaccination lasts in your system for approximately 10 years, after which we recommend that you receive a booster shot.
When should I get vaccinated?
The tetanus vaccine is usually given in one injection, along with two other vaccines: diphtheria and pertussis. We recommend vaccinating infants at 2, 4 and 6 months of age and again at 15 months. This series of four vaccinations will help to build up antibodies and keep your children protected from contracting tetanus. Over time, this antibody can become less effective, so we recommend that children receive a booster at 12 years of age and continue to receive one every 10 years as adults.
We also highly recommended you get a booster shot if you sustain any type of injury that may put you at risk of developing tetanus.
Such injuries include:
- Puncture wounds from sharp object such as nails, needles or glass.
- Animal bites.
- Wounds contaminated with dirt or feces.
- Wounds that are at high risk of becoming infected.
Tetanus is a serious disease and can lead to death if proper preventative steps are not taken. Keep yourself and your family up to date on all vaccinations, and be sure to visit your doctor if you have suffered from any type of injury or infection that may lead to tetanus.
If you would like information on the tetanus vaccine, please visit one of Velocity Care’s urgent care clinics in Little Rock, Arkansas or in the Louisiana areas of Bossier City, Natchitoches and Shreveport. Our team of doctors can help you determine if a tetanus vaccination is right for you and your family and can help take care of any injuries that you have sustained, preventing any infections from occurring.
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