10-year anniversary of 2008 flood may mean you are due for a tetanus vaccine

Released: 07/04/18

Most northeast Iowa residents vividly remember June 2008 as the rains poured down, the rivers rose and homes filled with floodwater. In the aftermath of the devastating flood of 2008, many affected by the flood received a tetanus booster vaccine to prevent the bacteria-caused disease. Ten years later, these same people are due for another booster to continue their immunity from tetanus.


Five facts about tetanus

from www.vaccineinformation.org

  1. Tetanus is a serious disease caused by bacteria. The actual disease is caused when the bacteria release a toxin, or poison, into a person’s body.
  2. Tetanus gets into the body through cuts or wounds, usually through a puncture wound caused by a contaminated object.
  3. Tetanus lives in the soil, so anyone working or playing outside can get infected even from a small injury.
  4. Tetanus can cause extremely painful muscle cramps all over the body. This disease can be deadly. In the most common form of tetanus, the first sign is spasm of the jaw muscles, followed by stiffness of the neck, and difficulty swallowing.
  5. Vaccination is the most effective step you can take to be protected from this serious disease.

Adults need tetanus boosters every 10 years

Winneshiek Medical Center Decorah Clinic and Urgent Care provider John Evelsizer Olson, PA-C, says, “Children receive the vaccine for tetanus as part of their regular immunization schedule. However, unless adults schedule annual physicals or receive regular primary care and we are able to help monitor their immunization needs, patients may be behind on their vaccinations.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports limited numbers of tetanus cases each year, but of those cases, most are in adults who have not stayed current on 10-year tetanus booster vaccines. Evelsizer Olson says, “When someone comes into Urgent Care with a puncture or dirty wound, unless we have evidence of updated tetanus vaccine, we will typically administer a booster to prevent tetanus.”

Keep track of vaccines with MyChart

One simple way to keep track of immunizations is through Winneshiek Medical Center’s secure online health portal, called MyChart. Patients with MyChart accounts can log in and easily monitor immunizations, personal health information, review visit notes, request appointments and more. All Winneshiek Medical Center patients can sign up for MyChart at their next visit, or by calling 563-382-2911 and requesting an activation code be emailed to them.

Primary care providers at Winneshiek Medical Center Decorah, Ossian and Mabel Clinics can help children and adults update their immunizations, including tetanus. Call 563-382-2911 to make an appointment.

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