Side Effects Of The Tetanus Shot

flu shot injectionThe Tetanus shot is administered to babies as young as 15 months.  Though it is an integral part of a child’s immunization schedule, the Tetanus vaccine has potential side effects.

Tetanus, often called lockjaw, is a bacterial infection that can cause painful muscle spasms and can lead to death. Tetanus bacteria are commonly present in soil, dust and manure. One can develop tetanus through a cut or other wounds.

The Tetanus vaccine is designed to build up antibodies which help prevent the body from contracting the disease.

About the Tetanus Vaccine

The Tetanus immunization is typically administered as a combination vaccine.  There are four combination vaccines used to prevent Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis including: DTaP, Tdap, DT and Td.

Children are recommended to get 5 doses of DTaP; one dose at each of the following ages, 15-18 months, 2, 4, 5 and 6 years.

DT does not contain pertussis and it is used as a substitute for DTaP for children who cannot tolerate pertussis vaccine.

Td is a tetanus-diphtheria vaccine given to teenagers and adults as a booster shot every ten years or after an exposure. Tdap is similar but also contains protection against pertussis.

According to the CDC it is recommended that women should receive Tdap during each of their pregnancies preferably in the third trimester. However, is that safe given the side effects?

Side Effects After Receiving the Tetanus Shot

The most common side effect after receiving any shot is pain around the injection site.  The area may become itchy, tender or swell.

However, it’s been reported that headaches and upper respiratory infections have been seen in approximately one third of patients after receiving the Tetanus shot.

Other less intense side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Allergic reactions

Pneumonia can develop after receiving the vaccine, due to the heavy impact the vaccine has on the immune system. Although this side effect is said to be rare, it can develop by those who are already immune suppressed.

Anyone suffering from a negative reaction to tetanus including confusion, irritability or excessive fatigue must see a doctor immediately.



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