Do You Need a Tetanus Shot?

June 10, 2021


Tetanus, often referred to as lockjaw, is a painful disease that causes the muscles in the neck and jaw to lock up, making it difficult to open the mouth, swallow, and sometimes breathe. Tetanus sufferers may also experience:

  • Sudden stomach muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Painful stiffness all over the body
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Broken bones
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Pneumonia
  • Death

Avoiding tetanus should be everyone’s priority. Luckily, we have four different vaccines in the US to prevent tetanus – two for adults and two for children. The CDC recommends that infants, children, teenagers, and adults get vaccinated against tetanus to:

  • Avoid infection.

Tetanus is most often contracted through a contaminated wound. Any wound that punctures the skin, especially with a dirty object, can be a breeding ground for tetanus bacteria. Burns, injuries due to crushing, and any injury with dead tissues can also introduce a tetanus infection. Tetanus vaccines given proactively during childhood and adolescence prevent the transmission of tetanus. Your doctor may also want to give you a tetanus vaccine booster if you have a would or injury that could lead to tetanus infection.

  • Meet school and work requirements

Most schools and many workplaces, especially healthcare workplaces, require a tetanus vaccination to attend or work there. Schools typically require that all staff and enrolled students be vaccinated according to CDC guidelines. Healthcare employees are at the highest risk of contracting tetanus, so many healthcare employers also require updated tetanus booster shots to continue employment.

No part of a tetanus infection sounds fun. Advances in immunology have brought us safe, reliable vaccinations against diseases like tetanus that we should all take advantage of. Visit to find your local AFC Urgent Care and schedule your tetanus vaccination today!


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