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Tetanus Vaccination


WHAT IS TETANUS?

Tetanus is a disease that affecting your central nervous system. It is caused by toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium tetani that is found in soil. The disease gets into the body through open cuts and wounds that have been contaminated with infected soil.

Tetanus infection spreads through the bloodstream eventually causing serious damage to your nervous system. Early symptoms include stiffness of the jaw muscles (Hence the disease was once known as Lockjaw), difficulties swallowing and muscle spasms. The disease can then spread to affect more muscles in the body, including the muscles that help you breath. This can cause difficulties with breathing and death can occur due to a lack of oxygen.

DO I NEED A TETANUS VACCINE FOR MY HOLIDAY?

Tetanus infection is found throughout the world. Children normally receive these vaccinations as part of NHS Childhood Vaccination Program. This normally involves 5 Tetanus vaccinations given at various stages.

A tetanus vaccination is usually recommended for anyone who:

  • has not been vaccinated before
  • has not been fully vaccinated (in the UK you should receive five doses of the tetanus vaccine as part of the Childhood Vaccination Program)
  • is travelling to a country with limited medical facilities, and had their last dose of the tetanus vaccine was more than 10 years ago

A vaccine that combines protection against diphtheria, tetanus and polio is available.

HOW DO I AVOID GETTING TETANUS?

Tetanus is always a possibility when you receive a wound that penetrates the skin. The only effective way to avoid Tetanus in these circumstances is to have an up to date vaccination.