ZocdocAnswersDoes a tetanus shot cause a lot of pain?

Question

Does a tetanus shot cause a lot of pain?

I found out I have to get a tetanus shot because I?m starting college soon. Does this hurt? I don?t like needles!

Answer

Tetanus shots are a relatively common procedure. To answer your question -- no, a tetanus shot should not hurt a significant amount. While it does involve a needle and breaking of the skin, it is a relatively well tolerated procedure. A tetanus shot is an important immunization. The shot gives you an exposure to a small, dead version of the tetanus virus -- which allows your immune system to see it and therefore prepare its defenses. Thereby, the next time you are exposed to the tetanus virus (often though a open cut like from a nail or from a railing), then you can fight it off. Tetanus is a horrible disease that causes spasm of the muscles (all your muscles contract and you can't move) so preventing it is key. Often, the same shot includes immunization for diptheria and pertussis -- two other very damaging diseases. The pain itself is minimal. It is a small needle often given into the meaty part of the arm. There can be a small amount of soreness for 1-2 days (similar to the sensation if you worked out too hard). Rarely, people get a low grade fever. Otherwise, outside of a very rare allergic reaction, it is well tolerated. Good luck!

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