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View Full Version : When to get a tetanus shot?


Merijeek
05-25-2005, 05:38 PM
Yes yes, sort of medical advice, but really more of a common life practice question.

I have never in my 30 years gotten a tetanus shot. In that time I've put nails, screws, spliters, logs, screwdrivers, knives, sticks, dowels and all sorts of odd things through my epidermis.

I've got relatively thick skin but have, somehow, gotten stabbed by dirt. Don't ask me how...

Anyways, pretty much any time I stick myself with anything larger than a thumbtack the woman in my life (all the way back to mom - Hi mom!) has said, "You should go get a tetanus shot."

I'd always figured that was more of a "getting stabbed by a rusty nail" kind of thing rather than a "Joe just put a brand new galvanized screw an inch into his forearm" kind of thing. For example, when I got stabbed by dirt [shakes head] I probably should have gotten it done. But I didn't.

So, how bad, deep, dirty, or whatever does it need to be before you should really get yourself a tetanus shot?

-Joe

Mr. Blue Sky
05-25-2005, 05:40 PM
I think every ten years is the norm. At least, that's the company doctor told me when she gave me mine.

Oregon sunshine
05-25-2005, 06:17 PM
You should really get a tetanus shot now. I think, if you actually get tetanus, there is a mortality rate up to 50%, and an extremely painful course. It's better to prevent than to go through something that dicey, IMHO.

postcards
05-25-2005, 06:40 PM
[QUOTE=Merijeek
I've got relatively thick skin but have, somehow, gotten stabbed by dirt. Don't ask me how...

-Joe[/QUOTE]

No, really, we must...you mentioned it twice.

Smeghead
05-25-2005, 08:34 PM
The spores of the bacteria in question are tough and quite common. There's no real way to know whether or not the object that just penetrated into your bloodstream was carrying those spores, so you should get a shot every 10 years or so to keep yourself covered. If you don't, it's sort of a Russian roulette scenario.

USCDiver
05-26-2005, 12:16 AM
The tetanus booster (I'm assuming you had the normal innoculations as a child in the US) is reportedly effective for 10 years, but I'd recommend getting the booster if you haven't had one in 5 years.

You have a 72 hour window from injury to booster for it to be effective in preventing tetanus. It's quick and only moderately painful.

Turek
05-26-2005, 08:16 AM
What about side effects of the booster? Seems like I remember having had a booster many years ago (25?) and I felt like crap for a couple days afterwards.

bouv
05-26-2005, 08:36 AM
I'd always figured that was more of a "getting stabbed by a rusty nail" kind of thing rather than a "Joe just put a brand new galvanized screw an inch into his forearm" kind of thing. For example, when I got stabbed by dirt [shakes head] I probably should have gotten it done. But I didn't.



You're right. It's almost impossible to get it from a shiney, new screw, since the spores that cause tetanus live in the dirt. So the fear of rusty things comes from the fact that a lot of things get rusty by being outside, many times close to or on the ground. So yes, you really should have gotten one after getting stabbed by dirt ( :confused: ), since then you got it right from the source.

Come to think of it, I think my tetanus booster is out of date. It was still valid when I ran my head into a rusty pipe sticking out of the ground (was very clsoe to going to the hospital, and probably would have gotten a booster if I did, but the bleeding eventually stopped.)

Sierra Indigo
05-26-2005, 08:49 AM
I got forced to get a tetnus shot when I sliced my hand open on a glass I shattered in a drunken bout of revelry. The doc snuck it in when I was nearly passing out the next morning from my hangover/the pain of the stitches going in. He said it wasn't really necessary as glass is quite clean and I'd shattered it inside and not outside on the dirt, but it was precautionary as I'd not had my booster at fifteen and was currently running on the old tetnus shots I'd had as a kid. The doc also said ten yearly updates is a good idea, 'specially if you go outside barefoot or do a lot of yard work.

Smeghead
05-26-2005, 04:12 PM
What about side effects of the booster? Seems like I remember having had a booster many years ago (25?) and I felt like crap for a couple days afterwards.
The last one I got left my arm sore for a few days, but other than that, had no side effects.

The Great Sun Jester
05-26-2005, 05:07 PM
Got my booster yesterday as a matter of fact. It got sore for a couple hours, but certainly no worse than when a drinking buddy gives you a frog. I can't feel it now.


Oh and "Stabbed By Dirt" ......... band name? User ID? Can't just let that go.

Merijeek
05-26-2005, 05:32 PM
No, really, we must...you mentioned it twice.

I was digging a post hole and we came across something hard (sewer line that wasn't supposed to be there). I was sliding dirt out of the way when something stabbed me in the finger. It bled like a mofo and I never found out what it was.

So now I'm legendary at work for being the guy who got cut by dirt...

-Joe Dirt

Hello Again
05-26-2005, 05:35 PM
I stay current on my tetanus since I work with horses. I've had reactions ranging anywhere from "arm a little sore" to "laid down for a day with a fever." So, I'd say in my non-medical opinion, that reactions can vary widely, even with an individual.

Either way, it's a whole lot better than tetanus. Get your shot!

ZomZom
05-26-2005, 08:20 PM
My last tetanus shot was 1981. Three days later I was covered in a rash that lasted 3 months. My dermatologist diagnosed it as Muchahaberman's disease, possibly triggered by the shot. I've never had one since and don't know if I should.

La Llorona
05-26-2005, 10:01 PM
Do you go to the doctor on a regular basis? If not, it's usually a good idea to get checked once a year just to make sure everything's in working order. If so, I can't think why your doctor wouldn't make sure you're kept up on your inoculations...

So yes. Doctors are good! So are tetanus shots! Get yours today! Only twelve easy monthly payments of $39.95!

:)

Si Amigo
05-26-2005, 10:20 PM
Yes, what they said. Why "not" get one. Better safe that sorry, hardly cost you athing other that perhaps a sore spot.

picunurse
05-27-2005, 02:48 AM
I've taken care of one patient with tetanus. Not pretty. Lots of pain. Then death.
Believe me when I say, GET THE D*** SHOT!

irishgirl
05-27-2005, 11:30 AM
Actually, that advice now is that getting a booster every 10 years is overkill.

As long as you've had 3 doses of the booster, you're considered immune.

This is what I found out when we were deciding whether to vaccinate a pregnant patient...after phoning the Irish drug and medicines board, they told us this new advice, and that as long as she'd had 3 doses, she was safe.