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By Deanna Krautner

August 11, 2015


New Port Richey - With the amount of debris left by a flood, residents working on clean-up efforts could be at risk of sustaining injuries. Residents are urged to contact their primary care physician to discuss the need for Tetanus vaccine. Through Friday August 28th, the Florida Department of Health will provide Tetanus boosters and vaccines to residents who have been impacted by this flood event.  Shots will be offered at the clinic located at 10841 Little Rd. in New Port Richey.  Shots will be free to those with proof of address.

“Many are beginning the difficult job of cleaning up after the flood waters recede and we have a real concern.” Said Mike Napier, County Health Officer.  “If you will be cleaning up debris from flood waters a Tetanus booster or vaccine should be on your check list of to dos before you start.”

Below is information on who may need to receive a vaccination:

  • Under normal conditions, all individuals should get a      tetanus-diphtheria booster (Td) every 10 years. A      tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (Tdap) dose is preferred to Td for adults who      have never received Tdap.
  • If you sustain a minor clean wound and have not had a tetanus      vaccination within the past 10 years, you will need a tetanus-diphtheria      or tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (Td or Tdap) booster.
  • If you have a serious, puncture-type, or dirty wound, then you should      receive a Td or Tdap booster within five years of your last vaccination.
  • If you sustain a wound or deep cut that concerns you, seek medical      attention. Medical attention is required to determine if a tetanus booster      is needed.
  • Proper wound care is essential for all cuts and lacerations regardless      of exposure to floodwaters.

Tetanus, commonly called lockjaw, is a serious disease that causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. Infection with tetanus can lead to “locking” of the jaw so the person cannot open his/her mouth or swallow and may even lead to death by suffocation. Tetanus is different from other vaccine-preventable diseases because it does not spread from person to person. Tetanus bacteria are usually found in soil, dust and manure. The bacteria enter the body through breaks in the skin, usually cuts or puncture wounds caused by contaminated objects.

Common first signs of tetanus are headache and muscular cramping and stiffness in the jaw (lockjaw) followed by stiffness of the neck, difficulty in swallowing, sudden, involuntary muscle tightening (muscle spasms), often in the stomach, jerking or staring (seizures) fever and sweating. Symptoms usually begin eight days after the infection but may range in onset from three days to three weeks.

For further information or to schedule an appointment call (727) 861-5250 ext. 0268 or ext. 3650.