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Tetanus shots: Is it risky to receive 'extra' boosters?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tetanus-shots/AN01497
- With Mayo Clinic internist
James M. Steckelberg, M.D.read biographyclose window
James M. Steckelberg, M.D.James Steckelberg, M.D.
Dr. James Steckelberg is a consultant in the Division of Infectious Diseases and a professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School.
A native of Fremont, Neb., Dr. Steckelberg was a Rhodes Scholar and graduated from the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine as a resident in internal medicine and a fellow in infectious diseases, and is board certified in both. He is the former director of the Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory at Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Steckelberg belongs to numerous professional organizations. He is a founding member of the Musculoskeletal Infection Society and a fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He has served on many Mayo Clinic committees and is a member of the Department of Medicine Leadership Committee and of the executive committee of the Division of Infectious Diseases. He also served on the editorial boards of "Mayo Clinic Proceedings" and "Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy" and has been an editorial reviewer for more than a dozen publications.
Dr. Steckelberg's research interests include experimental models of infection, epidemiology of infection, and antimicrobial resistance and therapy of bacterial infections.
- Vaccination schedule: Why so many so fast?
- Immunization: Are you immune to a disease?
- Tetanus shots: Is it risky to receive 'extra' boosters?
Tetanus shots: Is it risky to receive 'extra' boosters?
What happens if you get tetanus shots too close together — within a few years instead of the recommended 10 years?
from James M. Steckelberg, M.D.
It's usually OK to receive an extra booster of the tetanus vaccine. This is especially true if you're being treated for an acute injury, such as a deep cut or puncture wound, and you can't recall exactly when you had your last tetanus shot.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent tetanus — a serious disease caused by a bacterial toxin that affects the nervous system. Tetanus bacterial spores can enter your body through any cut or scratch. But deep puncture wounds, such as from stepping on a nail, are most susceptible to tetanus infection.
An adult who's never been immunized against tetanus should complete the initial tetanus series of three tetanus shots. The first two shots are given at least four weeks apart, and the third shot is given six to 12 months after the second shot. After the initial tetanus series, booster shots are recommended every 10 years. Although getting tetanus shots more frequently generally isn't harmful, it may increase the risk of soreness or redness at the injection site.
If you experience a puncture wound and it's been more than five years since your last tetanus shot — or you can't remember when you had your last tetanus shot — it's best to get the booster shot.Next question
Vaccination schedule: Why so many so fast?
- Hibberd PL. Tetanus-diphtheria toxoid vaccination in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 26, 2010.
- Ask the experts: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis. Immunization Action Coalition. http://www.immunize.org/askexperts/experts_per.asp. Accessed Oct. 26, 2010.
- Hsu SS. Tetanus. In: Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy 2010. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/linkTo?type=bookPage&isbn=978-1-4160-6642-2&eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6642-2..00002-8--sc0150. Accessed Oct. 26, 2010.