3 people holding sleeve up to show they just received a shot in the arm


What do you know about tetanus?

Vaccines are available that help prevent tetanus, an infection caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria. Four kinds of vaccines used in the United States today help protect against tetanus, all of which also provide protection against other diseases (diphtheria & pertussis)

Tetanus disease - caused by the toxin of the bacterium clostridium tetani. It is not spread from person to person. It occurs in people who have had a skin or deep tissue wound or puncture that becomes infected by bacteria found in soil, dust, & manure. Symptoms of tetanus include: painful tightening of muscles that may occur throughout the body & affect muscles that control breathing.

Diphtheria disease - a serious infection caused by strains of bacteria that make a toxin (poison) that can cause illness. Diphtheria spreads from person to person, usually through respiratory droplets (coughing or sneezing). Diphtheria is now nearly unheard of in the United States, however, the disease continues to cause illness globally. Symptoms of diphtheria include: a thick coating in the back of the throat making breathing & swallowing difficult, paralysis, & heart failure.

Pertussis disease - is an acute infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis; also called “whooping cough”; Pertussis is a very contagious disease only found in humans; it spreads from person to person typically airborne by coughing or sneezing. Early symptoms include runny nose, mild cough, low fever, while later stage symptoms include rapid coughs with a high-pitched “whoop”, vomiting & exhaustion. Pertussis can cause violent & rapid coughing, over & over, until the air is gone from your lungs.

T Dap Vaccine

How can I protect myself?

The CDC recommends tetanus vaccination for all babies & children, preteens & teens, & adults. There are a number of vaccines available. The type of vaccine received, depends on the age of the patient. Babies & children younger than 7 years old receive DTaP or DT, while older children & adults receive Tdap & Td. The CDC recommends all women receive a Tdap vaccine during the 27th through 36th week of each pregnancy, preferably during the earlier part of this time period.

Some of the vaccines prevent diphtheria and tetanus; while others can also help prevent pertussis (whooping cough). When pertussis circulates in the community, there is a chance that a fully vaccinated person, of any age, can catch this disease. If you have gotten the pertussis vaccine but still get sick, the infection is usually not as severe. Protection from these vaccines decreases over time, so it is important to be sure to receive all recommended dose or booster shots.

The Tdap vaccine is available at most Lewis Drug pharmacies. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about your vaccination status.

What kind of side effects to expect after vaccination for tetanus?

Side effects after vaccination can include pain, redness, & swelling at the injection site. You may also experience muscle pain, fatigue, headache, mild fever, stomach upset. Most side effects from the vaccination last approximately 48 hours or less.

Because of age or health conditions, some people should not get certain vaccines or should wait before getting them. This includes patients that have had an allergic reaction after a previous shot of a vaccine that protects against tetanus, diphtheria or whooping cough, has seizures or other nervous system conditions, has had severe pain or swelling after a previous tetanus vaccine.

Will I need a prescription for this vaccine?

Ask your pharmacist; most Lewis Drug locations have an agreement with local providers that allows for individual screening & vaccination at the pharmacy that same day.

What is the cost of the vaccine?

The cost of the vaccine will depend on your insurance. The Inflation Reduction Act that became effective January 1, 2023, has made the vaccination more affordable. Medicare Part D plans cover Tdap vaccines at $0 copay. Ask your pharmacist regarding your coverage

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