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Tetanus & Diphtheria Toxoids

Diphtheria and tetanus are both serious diseases that can be caused by bacteria:

  • Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, causes the muscles to tighten painfully—in most cases all over the body, including the jaw, which tightens and prevents the victim from opening their mouth or swallowing. Tetanus is fatal in approximately 10% of cases.
  • Diphtheria is an infection that results in a thick sheet of gray matter coating the nose, throat, and airways and impairing breathing.

Tetanus & Diphtheria Vaccine

While tetanus is usually caused by contamination through a cut in the body, diphtheria can be contracted as a result of contact with an infected individual. There is an available vaccine that is largely effective in preventing tetanus and diphtheria. This vaccine is administered in a series of shots.

Typically, a child seven years of age or older will receive the first shot, to be followed by booster shots given 4 to 8 weeks after the first shot, and then 6 to 12 months after the second shot. IT is also recommended that children 11 or 12 years of age receive a booster shot if it has been more than 5 years after their last vaccine.

After the initial series, teens / adults should schedule booster shots every 10 years. If you believe you may have been exposed to tetanus and it has been over 5 years since your last booster, it may be necessary to get an emergency booster. Ask your doctor for advice tailored to you, as your booster schedule may differ from these recommendations.

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