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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Is a tetanus shot required after injury from a rusty nail?

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Dr. Monika Dede

Infectious Diseases Specialist

Practicing since :2003

Answered : 867 Questions

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Posted on Sat, 8 Apr 2017 in Lump
Question: While doing a home improvement project in my bedroom I hit an old carpet nail with my hand and it went into the cuticle of my thumb. I've put antibiotic ointment on it and a band aid, but I know I haven't had a tetanus shot in close to ten years (don't remember exactly). Is this the kind of situation where I should get a tetanus booster?
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Answered by Dr. Monika Dede 49 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Yes you must do a tetanus booster.

Detailed Answer:
Hello!Thank you writing in healthcare magic.
I have been through your question.
You should know that the tetanus bacteria often enter the body through a puncture wound, which can be caused by nails (as you have), splinters, insect bites, burns, any skin break, and injection-drug sites.
Yes, a tetanus booster is needed every 10 years after primary immunization or after a puncture or other skin wound that could provide an entry point for the tetanus bacteria to enter the body.
According my experience I suggest in your case to wash with soap and water the wound and use antibiotic (local or oral for 3 days) to prevent an infection, and get a tetanus booster as soon as possible and as well a anti tetanus serum(passive immunization with specialized immunoglobulin).
I hope my answer helps you.
Feel free to ask me further.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
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