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This has always been a huge worry for me; getting tetanus. How does one actually get it? Metal penetration to the body? How long do tetanus shots last for? All these have been really big questions for me. What are the chances of getting it? Is it dangerous? I once saw a little boy with his jaws locked so he couldn't move his his jaw, i heard that's from tetanus. Can someone tell me some information on all this?

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hmm If my microbiology memory serves correctly... the tetnus bacteria lives in dirt and it is an anaerobic, so it grows in reduced oxygen, so a puncture wound is more likely to be an innoculation site than say a cut or scrape, like stepping on a dirty nail.


Shots technically last 10 years, but if you have an episode and it's been 7 or more, then they usually give a shot.


Tetnus is a very common bacteria.... I get a shot every 10 years, it's better than the alternative

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Tetanus is an anaerobic bacteria, belonging to the genus clostridium tetani, which is actually found in the form of spores. This bacterium is nonencapsulated and forms spores, which are resistant to heat, desiccation, and disinfectants (so no, hydrogen peroxide will not work). The spores are ubiquitous and are found in soil, house dust, animal intestines, and human feces. Its not just rusty nails. It doesnt have be a deep puncture would either, it could actually even be transferred by hand to mouth contact, although this form of transmission is rare, as it does not cultivate in the GI tract. These spores once in the bloodstream however, can remain dormant without activity for months to years, and then suddenly start causing symptoms of muscle rigidity (due to CNS nerve blockade) beginning from the head/jaw and working its way down the body. The person might have stiffness, spasms, fevers, and even paralysis, especially typically into strange body positions (back arched, feet curled up, etc) and once the tetanus organism starts spreading throughout the body as such, in most cases it becomes fatal.


The tetanus injection is given nowadays as a booster every 10 years, following your infantile schedule (6 weeks, 4 months, 6-12 months) and then a booster at 11-12 years age and then every 10 years thereafter. It is given as a shot called DTaP, which cover the three bacteria causing diptheria, tetanus and pertussis (the a before the P stands for acellular form of pertussis vaccine). All people are now vaccinated with DTaP as a child, and then give TdaP as an adult for booster every 10 years. Dont bother asking what the different abreviations stand for, thats a whole different topic which is irrevellant unless you are in the medical field. Only after the age of 64 is the aceullar pertussis portion not given anymore.


If you have a puncture wound of any sort, whether metal, soil, dirt, etc, they will ask at the emergency room or doctors office when was the last time you received a tetanus shot. If you cant remember, they will absolutely give you one right then and there, regardless if you had actually ever received one or not.


Source - I am a pharmacist

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