Recognize Tetanus Shot Side Effects

November 12, 2012

Recognize Tetanus Shot Side Effects

Lockjaw or tetanus is a potentially deadly condition caused by rapidly-multiplying bacteria called Clostridium tetani that enter the body through an injury such as a puncture wound. Before a vaccine was developed in 1924, tetanus killed countless millions of people, pets and livestock every year. Even today, tetanus still kills 1 out of every 10 people that become infected. Although some people experience tetanus shot side effects, doctors universally agree that the benefits outweigh any risks. The tetanus vaccine should be given to babies every 2 months, starting at 2 months of age and ending at 6 months of age. Children need booster shots when they are a year and a half old and again when they are about 5 years old and again at 11 years of age. Adults who receive an injury such as a puncture wound or a deep cut may receive a tetanus vaccination as a precaution. Pregnant women need a vaccine to avoid neonatal tetanus if they have not had a booster shot in 10 years. Common Side Effects The American Center for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the most common side effect of the tetanus vaccine in children is a mild fever. Other common tetanus shot side effects include feeling more tired than usual, headache, chills due to fever, nausea and vomiting. Other common side effects include feeling soreness, achiness or numbness at the exact injection site. Other people report often feeling pain in the shoulders or neck area. Tetanus shot side effects usually occur within 48 hours after the injection. Any tetanus shot side effects that last longer than 5 days should be considered serious and a doctor should be summoned at once. Uncommon Side Effects Uncommon tetanus shot side effects that happen to children include loss of appetite, stomach pain, sudden rise in crankiness and diarrhea. Adults also may get these symptoms but tend not to be so cranky. Other rare but uncommon tetanus shot side effects show up within 30 minutes of the injection and include:

  • Breaking out into hives or rashes on the skin

  • Swollen eyes

  • Noticeable swelling of the face

  • Some problems swallowing

Vaccine Allergy Side Effects About one in every one million people taking the tetanus vaccine is violently allergic to it. These allergy symptoms can appear as soon as 15 minutes after getting the vaccine. Children who have never been given a tetanus shot before may be asked to wait in the doctor’s office for abut an hour after the shot just in case they happen to be the one in a million. These symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Inability to breathe, especially in children with asthma

  • Sudden drop in blood pressure

  • Dizziness or feeling faint

  • Sudden swelling and discoloration of the lips, eyelids or other part of the face

  • Seizures

  • Breaking out into hives or rashes all over the body

  • Inability to swallow

  • Sudden swelling in the arm pits

  • Coma

  • Brain damage

  • Death within 30 minutes of the injection if the above symptoms were left untreated.


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