Tetanus, also known as lockjaw,is a common bacterium most often found in the soil. The bacteria enter the body through injuries with contaminated objects, including punctures, burns, animal bites, or those contaminated with dirt, feces, saliva. Symptoms of tetanus include muscle rigidity and spasms, often in the jaw and neck. It is life threatening if breathing muscles are affected. Up to 1 in 5 people who get tetanus may die.
Diphtheria is a bacterial disease of the respiratory tract or skin spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing, or skin to skin contact. Respiratory diphtheria has a gradual onset of mild fever, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, malaise, loss of appetite and hoarseness. It causes a thick covering of the back of the throat that can lead to severe breathing difficulties. About 1 in 10 people who get diphtheria may die.
How can I prevent Tetanus and Diphtheria?
The tetanus/diphtheria (Td) vaccine is the best way to prevent tetanus and diphtheria. This vaccine is only available as a combination vaccine.
Who should receive the Td vaccine?
The Td vaccine is provided free to infants and children as part of the routine vaccination schedule (combined with pertussis, polio, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenza type B). A booster dose of the Td vaccine combined with pertussis is provided free to students in grade 9. A booster of the Td vaccine is then recommended every 10 years.
Td vaccine schedule:
Adults who have never been vaccinated for tetanus and diphtheria require 3 doses of the Td vaccine at 0,1, and 6 months (the first dose should also contain pertussis).
The adult Td vaccine is given as a single dose every 10 years.Adults who have not received a reinforcing dose of the pertussis vaccine in adulthood should receive a dose of tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (Tdap).
Call us at 604-251-1975 to arrange an appointment or to receive further information about the Td or Tdap vaccine.
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