Tetanus Shot Side Effects

Tetanus shot vaccines are administered to prevent a patient from getting tetanus. Tetanus is a medical condition caused by bacillus toxins. These toxins get into the body through deep wounds. Tetanus can be a fatal disease that causes voluntary muscle spasmodic contractions, affecting the jaw and neck. When patients have a deep cut or have been injured by a dirty or rusty object, they will often be given a tetanus shot vaccine. Most patients do well with this shot, but some will experience tetanus shot side effects.

The most common tetanus shot side effect is pain at the injection site. It is estimated that approximately seventy-five percent of all adults, children and teens who are given a tetanus shot will experience injection-site pain. This tetanus shot side effect is most often a noticeable one, but it is never dangerous and tends to go away after a few days. When this tetanus shot side effect occurs, patients do not need to call their doctor.

Some mild tetanus shot side effects can occur, and in some cases these side effects can become bothersome for some patients. These tetanus shot side effects include headaches, mild body chills, low grade fevers, swelling and redness at the injection site, fatigue, vomiting and nausea. These side effects are considered common and most often go away after a few days. In most cases, these tetanus shot side effects do not require medical attention, but if they get worse or last more than two to three days the patient should contact their doctor. If the fever gets really high, 102 degree Fahrenheit or above, the patient should seek immediate medical attention – especially if the high fever is accompanied by vomiting and dizziness.

In less common cases, patients may experience prolonged tetanus shot side effects. These include prolonged diarrhea, prolonged vomiting, and prolonged flu-like symptoms. Approximately one out of every one-hundred patients will experience one or more of these tetanus shot side effects. Patients experiencing these side effects should contact their doctor if these tetanus shot side effects are particularly bothersome, get worse, or last more than seven days.

Though it is not common, a severe allergic reaction can occur after getting tetanus shot and cause severe, and sometimes life-threatening, tetanus shot side effects. The signs of an allergic reaction can include itching, difficulty breathing, rash, dizziness, and swelling of the face, tongue, throat, lips or other body part. An allergic reaction to a tetanus shot is a medical emergency. If a patient experiences an allergic reaction to the tetanus shot they need to get medical attention immediately by calling 911 and getting to the closest emergency room.

The tetanus shot vaccine is a type of vaccine referred to as an inactivated toxin, or inactivated poison, called a toxoid. It is produced by using a liquid medium to grow the bacteria in and then inactivating and purifying the toxin. The tetanus vaccine is a not a live vaccine so the patient’s immunity to tetanus will decrease with time. Because of this, patient’s will need to get booster doses every so many years. It is recommended that everyone gets a tetanus booster every ten years. However, if a patient has a deep wound they are often given one at the hospital after their wound is sealed, regardless of how long it has been since their last booster.


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