What is a tetanus shot?
The tetanus vaccine is compulsory for babies at around 9 months old, and children will receive several shots in their early years of life. Most children receive the shot again at around 6 years old, and it is advised that all people renew their tetanus immunity every six to ten years. After three doses, however, it is believed that almost everyone is immune.
Most high schools will offer the shot to teens, with the consent of their parents, as a booster shot.
What is tetanus?
Tetanus is a serious bacterial infection of the bacteria Clostridium tetani, and/or the spores they produce that live in the soil and animal excrement. The most common way of contracting it is to be wounded by a rusty piece of metal such as barbed wire, a nail or a fence. There are other methods of contraction such as burns, sepsis from childbirth and the use of unsterilised needles. Some have even contracted the disease from frostbite and after surgery.
Children are active and curious and are more likely to get the infection.
Tetanus causes painful muscle spasms and can lead to death. The spasms mostly affect the neck, fingers and jaw. Spasms have been known to interfere with breathing, which can be fatal. Wounds with devitalised (dead) tissue (for example, burns or crush injuries) or foreign bodies (debris in them) are most at risk of developing tetanus, explains eMedicine.
Facial muscles are often affected first.
What does the shot do?
Tetanus vaccine, also known as tetanus toxoid, is an inactive vaccine used to prevent tetanus, Wikipedia explains.
A vaccine can easily prevent the infection, which has no cure.