CTV Edmonton – Gardening raises tetanus risk, booster needed – CTV News

by Symptom Advice on May 28, 2011

Updated: Wed May. 25 2011 10:42:43 CTV.ca News Staff

Such common summertime activities as gardening, deck building and other outdoor renovations can put Canadians at risk for tetanus, infectious disease experts said in a reminder announcement this week.

Because the toxin that causes tetanus is found in all kinds of soil, the Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness and Promotion is advising that all Canadians should make sure they are up to date with their tetanus vaccinations.

Most Canadians have had at least one vaccination against tetanus, but many don’t realize that need a booster vaccine every 10 years.

Adults over age 60 are at increased risk of tetanus infection, since many were never immunized when they were younger or may have forgotten to get their booster shot, says Dr. Susan Bowles, vice-chair of the organization.

While many Canadians think of rusty nails when they think of tetanus, the bacteria that causes the infection — Clostridium tetani — is found in all kinds of soil, dirt and dust.

The bacteria usually enter through a cut or scrape and then bring on symptoms such as “lockjaw” (stiffness of the jaw), muscle spasms and sometimes breathing problems. It’s a serious disease that can lead to paralysis and even death.

Without treatment, one out of four infected people will die, says the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Coalition chair Dr. Bonnie Henry says spring is a great time for Canadians to check their immunization records and to visit their family doctor or public health office about getting a tetanus booster.

“The tetanus booster is safe, effective and free for all Canadians, so there is no reason why anyone should be unprotected,” she said in a release.

Other steps to help avoid tetanus infection:

  • Wear protective gloves, clothing and footwear while renovating and gardening.
  • Be mindful when using tools that can cause injury to skin.
  • If injured, immediately clean wounds thoroughly with warm water and soap

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: