Gardening season has begun: protect yourself against tetanus

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Spring is here!  This means the gardening and home renovation season has begun.  Before starting work in your garden or on your home, it’s important to make sure that your tetanus vaccination is up-to-date.

Protect yourself against tetanus

Tetanus is an acute infection caused by bacteria. It is often fatal; about 2 in 10 people who get tetanus will die. Tetanus bacteria typically enter the body through breaks in the skin (such as wounds, cuts or scrapes).  When the bacteria enter the body, they produce a toxin (poison) that affects the nervous system and can cause painful tightening of muscles all over the body.  It is very serious if the breathing muscles are affected.

Tetanus bacteria are present in our everyday environment. They are usually found in dirt, dust, soil and manure. Gardening and working on home renovations puts you at increased risk for tetanus because cuts and scrapes are common with these activities.  Although tetanus can grow in minor and clean wounds, the dirtier and deeper the wound, the higher the risk of tetanus. This is because the bacteria grow best when they are not around oxygen.

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself against tetanus.  And it’s free!

The tetanus vaccine is recommended for people of all ages, with booster doses every 10 years.  If you have a serious cut or deep wound, the vaccine may be recommended if it’s been 5 or more years since you received your last tetanus vaccine.  Adults who have never been vaccinated against tetanus should receive a series of 3 doses over a period of about 1 year.

Stay safe while gardening and working on your home – make sure your tetanus vaccination is up-to-date!  If it’s been 10 years or more since your last tetanus shot, visit your doctor, pharmacist or local public health unit to get your booster.

Source:
ImmunizeBC

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