Skip to main content

Should I get a tetanus booster?

Should I get a tetanus booster?
Click to enlarge

Are you up-to-date with your tetanus shots?

Tetanus can be fatal if you are not fully vaccinated and treated promptly. In Canada, there have been just five deaths from the disease since 1980 due to widespread vaccination.

What is tetanus?

Tetanus is an infectious disease caused by spores of the bacteriumClostridium tetani entering through a cut, puncture wound, scrape or burn on your skin. These spores can be found in dirt, soil, dust, rust and animal feces anywhere in the world. Tetanus cannot be spread from person to person.

Most cases are in newborn babies and pregnant women who have not been sufficiently immunized. Older people are often at risk as they are unaware that boosters are needed every ten years to ensure full immunization.

If you would like any more information on the disease, have a look at the government of Canada’s web page on tetanus.

What are the symptoms?

If the tetanus bacteria enter your body through a wound, they produce a neurotoxin that affects the nerves that control your muscles. Symptoms can include:

  • jaw cramping
  • muscle spasms
  • trouble with swallowing and breathing
  • seizures
  • headache
  • fever and sweating

If you suspect you have tetanus and are suffering from muscle pain or spasms, seek medical help immediately.

Do I need a tetanus shot?

Shots against tetanus are part of the normal vaccine schedule in Canada which includes a course of Revaxis that protects you against tetanus, polio and diphtheria.

The tetanus bacteria are not specific to any countries and can be found anywhere in the world. Accidents can happen to anyone, and its very easy to cut or scrape yourself on something dirty. The best way to prevent tetanus is through vaccination.

Learn more about vaccination against tetanus on our tetanus vaccine page.

How often do I need a tetanus shot?

After the routine course of the vaccine, a tetanus booster is needed every ten years for continued protection.

This is especially recommended if you travel to areas with poor sanitation and warm, damp climates.

Do I need a tetanus shot for a small cut?

If you have a small cut, treat the area with a first aid kit. However, you should seek medical advice if:

  • the cut is larger than 5cm
  • the cut is deep
  • the wound contains dirt or other foreign objects
  • you have not been vaccinated for tetanus

A medical professional will assess whether you will need a tetanus shot and any other treatment depending on these factors.

How long do you have to get a tetanus vaccine after a puncture wound?

The incubation period of tetanus can be three to 21 days, so if you suspect you have been exposed to the disease seek medical help immediately.

I’m looking for a travel clinic in Calgary

Look no further than Canadian Travel Clinics if you need travel vaccinations in Calgary. We can offer evening and early morning appointments for your convenience. Book online now.