How can tetanus be prevented?

The main way to prevent tetanus is to make sure that you and your family have up-to-date vaccinations. The vaccine is safe, effective and free.

For infants and children, tetanus immunization is part of a combined vaccine that protects them from 5 diseases. This vaccine requires 4 doses given at different ages:

  • 2 months,
  • 4 months,
  • 6 months,
  • and 18 months.

The side effects are usually minor. The child's arm or leg might be a bit red or sore where the needle went in. A child may also have mild symptoms such as:

  • fussiness,
  • sleepiness,
  • less appetite, or
  • slight fever.

These usually happen 12 to 24 hours after the vaccine, and go away in a few days.

Older children get a booster tetanus vaccine at age 4 to 6. Teenagers get a booster shot at age 14 to 16.

As well, it is important for adults to keep their tetanus immunization up to date. They should have a booster shot every 10 years for continuing protection.

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