Summertime means family cookouts, long days playing outside, and unfortunately the cuts and scrapes that often come with outdoor fun. Spores of tetanus bacteria are commonly found in soil and can enter the body through these breaks in the skin. Inside the body, the spores become active bacteria and make a toxin (poison) that causes painful muscle stiffness. Tetanus infection can lead to serious health problems and even death. Make sure everyone in your family is up to date with their tetanus vaccine.
- Tetanus is called “lockjaw” as it can cause neck & jaw muscles to tighten making it hard to open the mouth or swallow.
- CDC recommends vaccination for people of all ages.
- Tetanus does not spread from person to person.
- Spores of tetanus bacteria are commonly found in soil, dust, & manure & can enter the body through breaks in the skin.
- Tetanus infection can lead to serious health problems and even death.
- Stay up to date on your vaccines.
Since protection from tetanus decreases over time, CDC recommends tetanus vaccines for people of all ages.
- Don’t delay first aid of even minor, non-infected wounds like blisters, scrapes, or any break in the skin.
- Wash hands often with soap and water.
Use an alcohol-based hand rub if washing is not possible.
- Consult your doctor if you have concerns and need further advice.
- Page last reviewed: May 31, 2017
- Page last updated: May 31, 2017
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