One of the most vivid childhood memories I have, is going to a doctor for tetanus shots. How often, I do not remember, but I remember how agonizingly painful it used to be! However, that pain was not an important issue, as was getting immunized against Clostridium tetani.
Well, do not be flummoxed, that is the name of the harmful bacteria we take tetanus vaccination for. An anaerobic bacteria, it cannot survive in the places where there is oxygen. It thrives in dirt and on animal excreta. The entrance of the bacteria in our bodies is facilitated through a wound or, a deep cut or gash.
So, it is crucial to prevent tetanus or lockjaw, a disease caused by this very bacteria, where our entire nervous system is affected resulting into pain and spasms. Frequency of this shot is considerable from infancy to early childhood, tapering away as an individual ventures into adulthood.
How Often Do You Need a Tetanus Shot
According to medical experts and medical standards, it is recommended and advised that children receive five doses of the vaccination having a combination of protection against tetanus, acellular pertussis, and diphtheria (DPT). This vaccine should be given when the child is 2 months old, 4 months old, 6 months old, 15 to 18 months old, and between the age of 4 and 6.
If it has been 10 years since you had your last shot, then it is time to take it and that too, a booster one. It is most often called a Tdap vaccine. If, by any chance, you do not remember getting it as a kid, the dose of Tdap will be given in a series of three doses. Senior citizens should go for tetanus and diphtheria vaccine every 10 years. It is always better to take a booster dose, as the immunity of the body might weaken over a period. That is normally the frequency in adults.
In addition to this, tetanus shots are important and are necessary post injury, especially involving a rusted metal. It should be taken within a day or two of the injury. Rest assured, these are considered to be 100% effective. All said and done, it should be kept in mind, that in case you are sick, do not go for the vaccine until recovered fully. In case you have had a history of allergy, avoid it.
Most of the common and very minor side effects include, swelling and considerable pain at the spot where the injection has been given. Other minor side effects include, headache, muscle pain, low fever, nausea, and fatigue. Some people are affected a bit more seriously, though.
So for them, a tetanus shot can result into diarrhea and high fever, accompanied by vomiting. In extreme cases, which are very rare, a person can experience seizures, coma, and brain damage. It could also result in a person collapsing and convulsing after the shot is given. In children, it can cause decreased appetite, in addition to moderate side effects.
These shots are very much a routine thing among those, who are aware of it, so there is 'no big deal' about it. Moreover, it is always better to ward off the risk associated with tetanus by having a preventive measure against it.