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Tetanus vaccine clinics open through Thursday; up-to-date vaccination urged for all involved in storm clean-up

Elkhorn Tornado Damage
Posted at 6:02 PM, Apr 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-28 19:02:54-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Douglas County Health Department is urging anyone involved in storm clean-up to make sure their tetanus vaccine is up to date.

The debris from Friday's tornadoes creates a high-risk environment for tetanus.

What is considered "up to date" for tetanus vaccination?
DCHD says you are up to date if you've had a tetanus vaccine in the last 10 years. However, if you have a minor injury such as a scrape, you should get an updated vaccine if it's been over 5 years since your last tetanus shot.

How can I get a tetanus shot if I need one?
The Douglas County Health Department is hosting a daily tetanus vaccine clinic for those affected by Friday's storm or participating in storm clean-up. The clinic will run every day through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Common Ground Community Center, 1701 Veterans Drive in Elkhorn. Anyone under 19 years old must be with a parent or legal guardian to receive a shot.

What is tetanus?
According to the CDC, tetanus is an infection caused by bacteria. It is typically contracted through a break in the skin— such as a scrape or puncture wound. In the past, it has been known as "lockjaw," because it can cause painful muscle contractions that make it difficult to open one's mouth. It can also affect a person's ability to swallow.

Tetanus is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. In addition to the steps above, the DCHD urges anyone with a more serious injury, such as dirty wounds or deep puncture wounds, to immediately go to a medical provider for treatment.