This is a vaccine that decreases your risk of getting diphtheria and tetanus.
Tetanus and diphtheria are bacterial illnesses that have potentially serious complications. Due to the widespread use of vaccines, these illnesses are not as common as they use to be. 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.
Tetanus and diphtheria occur most often in people who've never been vaccinated or don't get the necessary booster dose. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that all adults receive a booster of Td every ten years.
A Td booster may be recommended after a sustaining an open wound.
Contact your healthcare provider if you are not up to date on your Td vaccine. Here is a list of questions you can ask about the vaccine.
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