A tetanus booster is an injection that is used to prevent a person from developing a serious infection called tetanus. This injection is a booster vaccine, which means it is given to extend or boost a person's immunity after he has received a tetanus vaccine in the past. Eventually, a person's immunity may start to fade, so doctors provide boosters in order to ensure that their patients remain immune. Usually, each tetanus booster provides protection for about 10 years.
One of the most commonly administered vaccines is a tetanus shot. It protects against a bacterial infection called tetanus that causes serious symptoms and even death in some cases. Usually, people receive tetanus shots that afford them protection from this disease before they enter grade school. The vaccinations administered for tetanus are expected to last for a period of 10 years. Once this time has passed, a person usually receives a tetanus booster, which is typically expected to last for another 10 years.
Tetanus is not a threat that goes away after a time. Instead, a person remains vulnerable to it for his entire lifetime. As such, he will usually need a tetanus booster not just after the initial 10-year period passes from his first tetanus vaccine, but also every decade for his entire lifetime.
Unfortunately, being up to date on one's tetanus shot does not give a person 100-percent protection from the infection. If it has been a while since a person has received a booster, there is a chance he will not have 100-percent immunity. Instead, if an individual receives a deep cut or wound after about five years or more have passed since he received a booster, he may need another booster to ensure that he has the full immunity. He may also need a booster if his cut is particularly dirty or was made with a dirty or contaminated instrument.
If a person fails to get a tetanus booster in time, he could develop tetanus. In such a case, he might suffer from such symptoms as fever, difficulty swallowing, body spasms, stiff muscles, and a rapid heart rate. He may also suffer from a rise in blood pressure and excessive sweating. The infection is treatable, however, with large doses of antibiotics and antitoxin medication; an individual can usually recover within several weeks. An individual's chances of survival and full recovery are typically better if he seeks treatment early in the infection.