This is a vaccine that decreases your risk of getting tetanus, also known as lockjaw, and diphtheria.
Tetanus (often called lockjaw) is a potentially life threatening disease caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani.
Tetanus (lockjaw) is characterized by painful muscle spasms that can spread throughout the body. (Muscle spasms in the jaw produce the classic "lockjaw".) The spasms can lead to muscle tears or broken bones. Other symptoms include:
Severe complications include difficulty swallowing and breathing, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, brain damage due to lack of oxygen during spasms and death.
Diphtheria is characterized by:
Severe complications are due to the toxins made by the bacteria. They include throat swelling with difficulty swallowing and breathing, inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), paralysis, kidney damage and death.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children complete a diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine series between eleven and twelve years of age. Adults should get a tetanus (Td) booster every 10 years after the childhood series is completed.
You should contact your healthcare provider if you are not up to date on your Td vaccine. Here is a list of questions you can ask during your appointment.
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