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When do you need a tetanus shot?

April 25th, 2005, 10:43 PM
I'm not too good at going to doctors, and I was wondering how bad a cut has to be to need a tetanus shot...

I got in a fight with a tree today and my finger got a tiny, but incredibly disproportionately bleedy cut (you should have seen the TREE!!). It's swelling up to the point where I took my ring off just in case. My step mother says since it bled so much I'll be ok.

Anyone know if a shot is needed for this? I wouldn't want to lose a piece of my finger or worse... :eek:

April 25th, 2005, 10:46 PM
If you havent had one in the last while I would recommend it. Usually its just for metal cuts, at least thats why I have always gotten them, but this tree could have and well was probably dirty, or may have come in contact with a variety of things that could infect your finger. I would suggest getting a shot, and hey if you cut yourself again, you wont need another shot for a while. Its a good precaution and it is a little needle, I have had my fare share.

April 25th, 2005, 10:52 PM
That's the thing. I have NEVER had one. Weird. All the "adults" I know have had at least one every 10 years. I don't know.. :confused:

April 25th, 2005, 10:53 PM
I am pretty sure they say you need one every four years! I do not like doctors but I am pretty sure the last time I had mine that is whay he told me. I only go in if I have to.

April 25th, 2005, 11:10 PM
How long can I wait? I'm going to see a surgeon May 10th... Can I wait that long, or will I be dead by then?

April 25th, 2005, 11:18 PM
You wont be dead by then, but possibly sick. You can even just pop into the clinic sometime. Even if you dont need one, it will get rid of the worry.

April 25th, 2005, 11:31 PM
A tetanus vaccine is not given because of how bad a cut may be (and here I assume you mean how deep it is?). Tetanus is adminsitered as part of your childhood vaccines (when you see DPT on your forms for school - or your mother did, ;) - that is what that means (that you have been vaccinated against diptheria, pertussis (pronounced PER TUSS (rhymes with fuss) IS) and tetanus.

Ideally, you need a boosterevery 10 yrs but most of us never do that unless we need to - like say we volunteer with Les Medcins sans Frontieres and actually come into contact with these illnesses. The other occasion is if you have a DIRTY cut and the cut was caused by something metal and your last tetanus booster was over 5 yrs ago.

On the plus side, the disease is extremely rare.

Unless your cut was caused by metal, it is most unlikely you require this vaccine Prin.

April 25th, 2005, 11:34 PM
Yey, CK. Even if you're wrong, I'll believe YOUR answer... :)
It was a tree. It wasn't too deep, it just hit an artery or something... I have a few other cuts from it, but none went deep enough to make me bleed.

You know how we all tell people about their sick animals, "If it was happening to you, would you go to the er?" I think I should do it the other way around... :o

April 25th, 2005, 11:35 PM
I just wrote this long reply to this question only to lose it, grrr!

In brief, you don't need it from what I can tell. Unless you cut yourself on metal and you have a dirty cut resulting from that cut, and your last tetanus booster (a tetanus shot is a vaccine against tetanus) was over 5 yrs ago - you do not need one.

Plus, the disease is very rare. There were maybe 25 cases if that last yr in Canada - 100 in the US (Now mind you, 1/3 of ppl who contract it die b/c there is no antibiotic for the bacteria that causes it). I did ot see anything about you cutting yourself on rusty metal.

April 25th, 2005, 11:37 PM
Now that was weird. I got booted out of the browser, thought I lost the 1st post and it is still there. Oh well. Same advice, lol

April 25th, 2005, 11:38 PM
Why is it only on rust? The cut wasn't too dirty either. A bit of bark in it, but I washed it off completely. I have taken sooo many first aid courses, I know what to do in the moment, just not after the moment... :rolleyes:

April 25th, 2005, 11:41 PM
B/c rusty metal - amg other places (deep soil, manure,etc) - is a great medium for the bacteria that causes tetanus.C. tetani is the bacteria.

April 25th, 2005, 11:43 PM
The only thing that could have come into contact with this tree is a deer... But highly doubtful since the trees were very branchy around it. I think I'm ok. If it gets worse tomorrow, I'll go in... :eek:

April 25th, 2005, 11:43 PM
If there is no open cut, I would not worry. Make sure you clean it with hot soapy water and if you have something like betadine around, add that as well.

April 25th, 2005, 11:45 PM
But if I hadn't had a booster since at least 12 (last time I had a regular doctor), do I need one anyway? I suppose I still have to find a doctor to sort me out...

April 25th, 2005, 11:50 PM
Most ppl do not get booster shots. Are you entering a medical field where you will possibly come into contact with tetanus (as unlikely as that is)? A DPT booster won't hurt you in that case (tho we have all but eliminated the other 2 in the west- pertussis being the whooping cough).

I have a colleague who is a world renouned expert in pertussis - he was recntly interviewed in the Wall Street Journal of all places - is there some stock interests in DPT vaccines, lol?

It's up to you but I would not have had the booster if I was not in medicine.

April 25th, 2005, 11:52 PM
Yey again!! You're gonna end up my best friend if you keep telling me I don't need shots!! LOL :)

April 26th, 2005, 08:24 AM
I didn't know we dont need the boosters. I'm 26 and got my last one at 20...I thought we HAD to have them!!

April 26th, 2005, 09:16 AM
I recently had mine updated due to a dog bite. The doctor gave me heck for not having a current one due to the line of work I'm in... He suggested that I should always keep it current as I am at high risk to dog bites. Just for us nuts that pick up unkowns. :thumbs up

April 26th, 2005, 10:12 AM
I had to have my booster last year as well. I wanted to do some volunteer work at an animal shelter and they will not let you volunteer unless you have your tetanus shot up to date. Also, my husband and I love to travel and my doctor recommended I get my booster because you just never know what you might pick up during your travels!

I wish I had known that I needed to get my booster every 10 years because when I worked in the vet hospital a while back I got bit pretty bad by a cat and I didn't have my tetanus shot updated!

Also, 2 years ago I had fallen and hurt my shin pretty bad. I panicked for quite a while afterwards thinking that I was going to die because I didn't have my tetanus shot up to date. I worry too much. :rolleyes:

April 26th, 2005, 11:08 AM
My finger is better today. Well, the swelling has not gone down, per se, but it has not worsened either.

Does anyone remember if Tetanus is a shot in the muscle or just under the skin? If I ever have to get one, I have to be able to adjust my fear accordingly.. ;)

April 26th, 2005, 11:10 AM
Intramuscular, right in the upper arm and stiff as a board for a few days after. :eek:

April 26th, 2005, 11:11 AM

April 26th, 2005, 11:13 AM
Thought that would be the reaction.

April 26th, 2005, 11:14 AM
Nice to know somebody finds this funny... :p

April 26th, 2005, 11:16 AM
Yep, I got mine right in the upper arm. I use emla cream so I dont feel it. I had a lot of needles as a kid and IVs so the emla cream was my best friend. I still keep some around the house just in case.

April 26th, 2005, 12:27 PM
I got mine last year and remember the doctor asking me which arm I would want to get the needle. I didn't know what the big deal was until later. It is right in the muscle of your upper arm like BMDLuver said.

If you drive a stick shift car, don't get it on your right arm! If you are going to get it, have the doctor give you the shot in the arm that you are going to use less often.

The area that I got the needle hurt for a few days. I couldn't even lie on that arm and nobody could touch it! But then again, I don't handle pain very well.

April 26th, 2005, 01:58 PM
Wow I didn't know any of this stuff. (I should be learning it soon thought, I'm becoming a medical technologist.) It didn't hurt me when I got my tetnus shot at all. But I have a very high pain tolerance. It made a little bump under my skind for a while and that was kind of gross, but it didn't hurt.

April 26th, 2005, 02:24 PM
Jackie the show off.. LOL. I got a meningitis shot once and that was in the muscle. Not looking forward to this one. Luckily, I can prolong the delay longer.

By the way, Beaglemom-- "If you drive a stick"-- is there any other way to drive? :p

doggy lover
April 26th, 2005, 02:29 PM
Well at least its not in your butt. I get my booster with the tetanus shot every 10 years and yep this is year 10. :yuck:

April 26th, 2005, 03:42 PM
By the way, Beaglemom-- "If you drive a stick"-- is there any other way to drive? :p

Nope! I much prefer driving stick! :D

April 26th, 2005, 04:21 PM
Nope! I much prefer driving stick! :D
I so miss my Jeep, darn kiddies needing to be safe. :sad:

April 26th, 2005, 04:33 PM
What? You can't get a wagon in a stick? You can't have more kids than back seats of a station wagon (that's my policy)-- I'm never gonna have a van. :cool:

April 26th, 2005, 06:54 PM
I'm never gonna have a van. :cool:
Yeah, that's what I said (luckily it was a complete lemon, and since we only have the 2 kids, we decided to trade it in for a CR-V). But I learned a long time ago to "never say never". It most certainly will come back to bite you. ;)

Oddly enough, they had a story on tonight's New VR news about when to get a tetanus shot. They said you had them as children, but after the age of 15, it's up to you to remember to go back every 10 years. They did suggest that you do it, though. They spoke about the metal thing, but also cautioned gardeners. They said all it would take is to be messing around in the garden, have earth and whatnot on your hands, and break the skin with a rose bush, a bamboo shoot, etc...

April 28th, 2005, 09:58 AM
They run ads for tetnus shots on our local radio stations all the time (I don't know if its more prevalent in our area or what) and the slogan is "If its been 10, do it again". I didn't know about the risk from dog bites, I thought it was only metal. My son got shot in the hand with a BB gun once and the bb went through the bone on his little finger. At the ER they not only gave him a tetnus shot but also put him on IV antibiotics because of the risk of bone infection. I do remember that the shot hurt like hell the last time I had one! OUCH! :eek: