ZocdocAnswersShould I get a tetanus shot

Question

Should 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?

Answer

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.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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