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What's it like: To get a tetanus shot, something recommended for tornado cleanup volunteers

The shot is recommended for Oklahomans who will be working in and around tornado debris.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: May 31, 2013 at 11:06 pm •  Published: June 2, 2013

What are the risk factors?

You or your child might experience pain, redness or swelling at the injection site. Some people develop a mild fever after getting the shot. Others experience headache, tiredness, nausea or diarrhea. It's not as common, but some people have experienced chills, body aches, sore joints, rash or swollen glands after getting their tetanus shots.

If you have a severe reaction after getting a tetanus shot, such as a severe allergy, coma or seizures, it's not recommended that you get another tetanus shot, unless your reaction wasn't related to the shot.

Also, children with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated, but children who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting the DTaP vaccine.

What's the follow-up?

Public health officials recommend that you get a tetanus shot every 10 years. If you have an accident, such as stepping on a rusty nail, you should get a tetanus shot, even if you've gotten a shot within the past 10 years. This is recommended because the vaccine's effectiveness can wane over time.

Source: Elise Hooks, immunization field consultant at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department; Oklahoma State Department of Health; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Mayo Clinic.

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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