For all persons involved in floodwater clean-up efforts, public health officials recommend that you make sure you are current on your Tetanus vaccine, which is contained in the Tdap shot (Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis).
Tetanus is a serious infection caused by bacteria that affects the muscles and nerves. It enters the body through breaks in the skin, such as cuts and puncture wounds. It can lead to “locking” of the jaw so the victim cannot open his mouth or swallow. Tetanus can be fatal.
A Tetanus shot is recommended every 10 years. Protection against tetanus is especially needed if you have worked or are working in flooded areas.
Please be sure to check your immunization history prior to asking for the vaccine, as you may already be protected. You may check with your medical provider, county public health department, workplace employee health service, etc.
For children under age 19, contact your child’s pediatrician.
Pregnant women can be protected against tetanus but should consult with their prenatal healthcare provider prior to receiving the vaccine.
Tetanus vaccine should not be administered to people who have had a severe reaction to the vaccine. This is very rare, and if you are not protected, working on this clean-up effort should be done with caution. The vaccine information sheet (VIS) provides complete information about the vaccine and is available when you get the vaccine.
For more information on tetanus and the Tdap vaccination, log onto CDC’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/tetanus/ or contact your local public health department.