Most children born in the US have received three tetanus shots (boosters) in the past, because these boosters are part of the usual vaccination schedule. Additional tetanus boosters are given every 10 years.
Those who require treatment to prevent tetanus include:
- Those who have not had 3 tetanus boosters in the past need a tetanus booster after a skin wound.
- Those who have not received a tetanus booster in the past 10 years need a tetanus booster after a skin wound.
- Those who have dirty wounds need a tetanus booster if they have not received a booster in the past 5 years.
Dirty wounds include:
- Wounds that occur outdoors
- Wounds that contain dirt or foreign material
- Tetanus booster:
- A tetanus booster stimulates the immune system to make antibodies against the tetanus toxin.
- A tetanus booster may be given to those who have received 3 tetanus boosters in the past.
- The tetanus booster may be given within 72 hours after the wound occurs.
- Tetanus Immune Globulin (TIG):
Tetanus Vaccine and TIG Recommendations
|History||Clean, Minor Wound||Other Wounds|
|< 3 boosters||give Td||give Td + TIG|
|3 boosters||possible Td||possible Td|
Clean and minor wounds may need a booster if it has been more than 10 years since the last tetanus vaccine. Other wounds may need a booster if it has been more than 5 years since last tetanus vaccine.
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- Moulin V, Auger FA, Garrel D, Germain L. Role of wound healing myofibroblasts on re-epithelialization of human skin.Burns. 2000 Feb;26(1):3-12. 
- Norman D. The effects of age-related skin changes on wound healing rates. J Wound Care. 2004 May;13(5):199-201. 
- O'Dell ML. Skin and wound infections: an overview. Am Fam Physician. 1998 May 15;57(10):2424-32.