Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Should I get a tetanus shot"

ZocdocAnswersShould I get a tetanus shot


I am a 58 year old male. I had a bicycle accident last week and sustained multiple cuts on my left hand, right hand, right lower leg and arm. I cleaned them by washing with water and the applied a combination of Polysporin and an antiseptic. I am not sure when I last had a tetanus shot. Should I get a tetanus shot?


Generally the tetanus shot is recommended for people that sustain any kind of open injury (such as a laceration) and do not know when their last tetanus booster was administered. Wounds that are especially "tetanus-prone," such as a puncture with a rusty nail, should theoretically be treated with a combination of the tetanus vaccine and tetanus immunoglobulin. If your wounds were superficial and you cleaned them well with the combination of Polysporin and an antiseptic, then the immunization should be fine. If you are concerned that the wounds were very deep and heavily contaminated, then you can also inquire about the tetanus immunoglobulin. In any case, the tetanus booster should be administered along with the vaccines for diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) as part of the TDaP shot, since pertussis is making a comeback in the adult population.

Need more info?

See a doctor today

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

Find doctors by city
Find doctors by specialty
Find doctors by popular insurances